Welcome to the National Writers Union

The National Writers Union UAW Local 1981 is the only labor union that represents freelance writers.

Now, more than ever, with the consolidation of power into the hands of ever-larger corporate entities and with the advent of technologies that facilitate the exploitation of a writer’s work, writers need an organization with the clout and know-how to protect our interests. One that will forge new rules for a new era.

Combining the strength of more than 1,200 members in our 13 chapters with the support of the United Automobile Workers, the NWU works to advance the economic and working conditions of all writers.  Our members also directly benefit from the many valuable services the Union offers—including grievance assistance, contract advice, and much more—while actively contributing to a growing movement of professional freelancers who have banded together to assert their collective power.

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Special Announcements

12/04/2014 - 12:35am

“THIS ENDS TODAY!”

There really are no words to describe the anger, frustration, and rage at the two grand jury decisions in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY. Grand juries, which indict 99 out of 100 times and only need to establish probable cause, have failed to indict the cop who shot and killed unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown from 150 feet away with his hands in the air, or the cop who choked Eric Garner to death, a young father of four, also with his hands in the air, for selling loose cigarettes. The murder of Eric Garner, ruled a homicide by the coroner, was caught on camera!

The fact that one horror unfolded in suburban Ferguson, MO and the other in New York City reflects how racist police brutality has become the norm, that black lives are cheap, not just to the police, but to prosecutors and many who serve on the grand juries.

In 2013, there were 461 “justifiable homicides” by police, the highest number in more than two decades. Since Eric Garner was killed in July and Mike Brown in August, a partial list of those killed covers Brooklyn, LA, St. Louis, and 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, OH. In the past two years, the NYPD killed teenager Rahmarley Graham in the Bronx, and Shantel Davis, Kimani Williams, and Kyam Livingston in Brooklyn. Not a single cop has been charged with a crime. And of course, there was Trayvon Martin.

Recently, I attended the 2nd World Human Rights Forum with the International Federation of Journalists. Our delegation held three panels on impunity against journalists. I talked about the brutal murders of freelancers Foley and Sotloff in Syria, the bugging of the AP Washington bureau phones and the case of NY Times reporter James Risen, facing jail in a federal leak investigation, even though he is not part of a criminal investigation.

I also said that I couldn’t talk about impunity and human rights without talking about the Michael Brown decision and the rebellion that erupted in its wake. When I said, “Our union stands with all the victims of racist police terror,” the room of international journalists burst into applause.

The struggle against racism, from the abolitionists to the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, has always brought out the best in us. And it has been a tide that raised all boats. While racism hits black people first and hardest, it is an attack on all of us, and must be ended by all of us, together. I urge every NWU member to engage your colleagues, friends and family on this vital issue. And I urge every Chapter to reach out and join rallies and marches going on across the country, especially the national march on Washington, DC called for Saturday, December 13. We will be a stronger union for it.

In Solidarity,

Larry Goldbetter

National Writers Union, President


 

 

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12/03/2014 - 7:52pm
 
By Edward Hasbrouck
 

Readers, like writers, have been caught in the middle of a feud over e-book distribution terms and pricing between the Hachette book publishing company and Amazon.com.  On Nov. 13, the two announced they had reached a settlement. But the terms were not disclosed, and there's been nary a word about its implications for readers and writers.

If you suspect that this has been a turf war between big companies, you're right. And if you also suspect the interests of individuals – readers as well as writers – have gotten lost in the shuffle, right again. Both Amazon and various publishers tried to enlist writers in their dispute. But neither side is serving readers' interest in lower-priced e-books or treating writers fairly.

Many publishers of print books have deals with Amazon to license e-book editions of their entire older “backlists” of printed books. Amazon makes no attempt to verify whether print publishers actually hold e-book rights to these works, much less what percentage is supposed to be paid to authors. In many cases, the rights to license those e-books belong to authors, not publishers.  The writers should be able to negotiate their own deals with Amazon or other distributors of electronic versions of their books. However, that means writers might be competing with bootleg editions issued by publishers of their print books.

This may sound complicated, legalistic, and irrelevant to the reading public.  In practice, it may greatly impact both the prices readers pay for e-books and the earnings of authors. Amazon offers self-published authors 70% of the e-book list price in certain price ranges.  For example, if a reader pays Amazon $5.99 for a self-published e-book, Amazon keeps $1.79 and passes on $4.20 to the author.

For the same $5.99 e-book licensed to Amazon by a print publisher, Amazon keeps the same $1.79 and passes $4.20 on to the publisher.  Amazon tells readers in its terms of service that e-books are licensed, not sold   But almost all print publishers treat e-book licensing revenue as “sales," rather than licensing of a subsidiary right. Instead of the author receiving $4.20 (or even 50% of revenues usually due to the author of a licensed work), most publishers keep $3.78 and pay the writer the same 42 cents they earn from the sale of a printed book (10%).

Authors should receive a larger share of e-book revenues than of print book sales. The publisher of printed books incurs costs to produce, warehouse and ship the books.  Publishing an e-book version of a print book costs next to nothing.

When authors control their e-book rights, they can set lower prices than print publishers would.  At the same time, when authors earn a higher percentage of e-book revenues from self-published e-books, or e-books for which they are properly paid based on subsidiary rights licensing, that leads to lower prices for readers and higher earnings for authors.

If Hachette and other publishers really wanted to serve writers, they would:

1.  Withdraw e-book editions they have issued for print books whose rights belong to their authors;
2.  Pay authors of backlist e-books at least the 50% share of revenues due them for standard subsidiary rights licensing; and
3.  Pay authors for e-book revenues publishers have previously collected in violation of the authors’ rights.

If Amazon wants to show that it supports writers, it would:

  • Verify who holds the rights to backlist books offered in electronic form and deal only with bona fide holders of e-book rights;
  • Pay writers directly their share of e-book revenues; and
  • Provide authors with the same reporting on sales and revenues that it provides publishers.

Edward Hasbrouck, the co-chair of the Book Division of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, is the author of the Practical Nomad series of travel books.


 

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12/03/2014 - 7:49pm

Whereas at its 36th Constitutional Convention the UAW resolved:

“We must win justice for our brothers and sisters around the world, if we
are to win justice for American workers,” and

“We must change the behavior and hold accountable employers that cast basic
labor standards aside and deny workers their rights, regardless of where
their headquarters are located, to ensure that everyone who works for the
same employer enjoys job security, a voice at work and a living wage” and

“We will engage in struggles for human and labor rights around the world,”

And
Whereas many hundreds of Colombian GM workers have witnessed their basic
labor standards rights cast aside, resulting in serious workplace injuries
and subsequent mass dismissals,

And
Whereas the injured workers’ association ASOTRECOL, along with the union,
SINTRAIME are fighting for justice for the injured and dismissed workers,
and have appealed for support and solidarity from the UAW,

And
Whereas UAW rank and file members have responded to that appeal with over
$10,000 of plant gate collections, local union donations and other acts of
solidarity,

Be it resolved that the UAW:

Hold GM accountable and change its behavior regarding its callous disregard
for the rights of its Colombian workers,

Demand that GM re-initiate the mediation with ASOTRECOL begun in 2012 with
the intent of reaching a fair and final settlement,

Use its website and publications to publicize the heroic struggle of the
Colombian GM workers and encourage local unions to engage in acts of
solidarity to support them in their fight for job security, a voice at work
and a living wage.


 

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12/03/2014 - 7:42pm

 

November 16, 2014

Resolution by the National Executive Board of the National Writers Union to sign the Call to Action (initiated before the bill was signed into law) which defends the right of free speech for Mumia Abu-Jamal and all prisoners in the state of Pennsylvania as delineated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and in the Pennsylvania Constitution

Whereas, every person in the United States is guaranteed the right to free speech, which may not be abridged for any reason:

Whereas, the Revictimization Relief Act (HB 2533/SB 508), signed into law by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett on Oct. 21, seeks to silence all Pennsylvania prisoners if, by exercising their right to free speech, they allegedly cause “mental anguish to their victims”;

Whereas, the act is clearly unconstitutional and is being challenged by legal experts from the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Center for Constitutional Rights;

Whereas, as noted in the Call: “This legislation emerged as a politically charged response on the part of the Fraternal Order of Police and its political allies, because they failed to stop Pennsylvania prisoner and radio journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal from delivering his October 5, 2014, commencement address at Goddard College in Vermont, from where Abu-Jamal earned his BA in 1996 while on death row. Students at Goddard collectively chose Abu-Jamal as their commencement speaker and the administration supported the invitation. In this case, this law would deny the school the right to hear from its alum, Abu-Jamal.”

Whereas, the National Writers Union believes in the right of all people and members of all communities, especially those that are oppressed, including prisoners, to practice journalism and to write and express themselves in their own words, in addition to having their stories told by outsiders;

Whereas, Mumia Abu-Jamal, known as “the voice of the voiceless,” was invited to become an honorary member of the National Writers Union in 1995 when the state of Pennsylvania first tired to put him to death, and has since received the support of the union over the years as an exemplary broadcast journalist and author who tells the truth about the prison-industrial complex from behind the walls;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the National Executive Board of the National Writers Union continues that tradition of social activism and signs the Call to Action (attached) which defends the right of free speech for Mumia Abu-Jamal and all prisoners in the state of Pennsylvania as delineated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and in the Pennsylvania Constitution;

Further, be it resolved, as stated in the Call: “We oppose and protest Pennsylvania’s abuse of state power and its trampling of the fundamental human rights of all — of students to hear Abu-Jamal, of teachers and journalists to access perspectives of the imprisoned, and, by extension, of everyone who deserves the free flow of information in society.”

Respectfully submitted by:

Irving Jones, Philadelphia Chapter
Susan E. Davis, NY Chapter
Janet Mayes, NY Chapter
Ellen Cohen, NY Chapter
Eleanor Bader, NY Chapter
Edward Hasbrouck, San Francisco Chapter 
 
 

 

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10/31/2014 - 9:35am
NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL WRITERS UNION
 
In mid-October, NWU’s New York chapter partnered with Metro NY Labor Communications Council to offer the panel discussion, The Attacks on Labor in the Courts and Legislatures. An overflow crowd heard Stanley Aronowitz (CUNY), Frank Deale (CUNY Law School), Henry Garrido (AFSCME) and Carol Pittman (NYSNA, shown) speak and also to take part in the lively discussion that followed on how to put labor into a fighting, winning stance. Also in October, four New York chapter members spent a rewarding evening calling members to ask them what they like about the union; what else the union can do for them; and what they’re willing to do to help build the union. Members who placed the calls found a great deal of support for the NWU, along with several proposals that could help attract new members. [Photo: Tim Sheard]
 
KUDOS!
 
New DC Chapter member Calvin Zon has just published, Divided We Fall: The Confederacy's Collapse From Within, A State-by-State Account. It’s available on Amazon in paperback ($13.46), or as an eBook ($9.99). Divided makes the case that Southerners’ opposition to the Confederacy led to its downfall.
 
Sue Davis’s article about the closure of abortion clinics, “Texas Judges Curtail Abortion Rights,” ran in the October 16 issue of Workers World (read it online here). 
 
Rob Ramer, Jackie Mosio, Marly Cornell and Paul Zerby staffed the NWU Twin Cities’ table at the 2014 Book Festival, where about 50 people signed up to receive more information on the NWU/the TC Chapter. Several people expressed interest in a contract advice workshop. 
 
Jim Patterson had a number of articles on marriage equality published:

"Roll over, Jesse: Gay marriage ushers in new era in the state of ‘Senator Hate’" via LGBTQ Nation. Or read the article here on the Bilerico Project.

 
"One more step on the long road to equality" via the Brattleboro Reformer.
 
Eric Arthur published a film review:

"In "The Decent One," Heinrich Himmler: Dedicated family man" via People's World.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, elected Margie Burns, NWU Washington, DC, chair to the adjunct faculty advisory committee.
 
Jerome Richard's short story "My Son, The Female Impersonator" was reprinted in the Fall 2014 East Coast Literary Review.
 
 

 

 

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10/31/2014 - 9:19am

In a September keynote address, Brigid O’Farrell of the NWU Bay Area celebrated union women who were active in both the labor movement, and the second wave feminist movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. 
 

"To say the movement was all elite white women is to silence the voices of working class women and women of color," O'Farrell told an audience at the Veteran Feminists of America’s (VFA) conference in St. Louis, MO. Throughout the day, feminist stories from the past were interwoven with research and action projects from today’s up and coming scholars and activists.

The subject of O’Farrell’s speech, “Labor & the Women’s Movement: The Untold Story and Why It Matters,” was based on her book Rocking the Boat: Union Women’s Voices 1915-1975. She highlighted the roles of important organizers such as Millie Jeffrey (right), long time union and political activist who became the first director of the UAW Women’s Bureau in the mid-40’s; Caroline Dawson Davis, president of Local 764 in Indiana, director of the Women’s Department from the late 40’s to the early 70’s; and Dorothy Haener (below left) from the Ford Willow Run plant, which made bombers during World War II. Haener also became an activist and joined the Women’s Department staff in the early 60’s. Five of her nieces were in the audience at the VFA conference.

These women, and other union sisters, contributed to President Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women. Davis and Haener joined with Betty Friedan, author of the Feminine Mystique, to form the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1968. Few people know that for the first year, NOW was run out of the UAW Solidarity House in Detroit. And, while there was much turmoil over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), the UAW was one of the first unions to endorse the ERA in 1970, with UAW sisters figuring prominently in the founding of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) in 1974. 

O’Farrell’s remarks acknowledged the role of such union women as Addie Wyatt (right) of the United Packing House Workers, who was a co-founder of CLUW; and Catherine Conroy, Communication Workers of America, who also helped found NOW. In all, the spirit of the conference celebrated powerful women of history who had the guts to take action.
 
 

Top Photo: (Front row) Brigid O'Farrell, NWU/UAW; Katie Jordan, president, Chicago CLUW; Back row: Carol King, producer; Sheila Tobias, vice president VFA; Muriel Fox, VFA Chair. Photo: Kathy Rand, VFA.

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10/30/2014 - 9:28am

 

Workers Tell Their Stories

The non-profit arm of the National Writers Union is collecting stories, especially those of low-wage workers. Members Esther Cohen, Terry Schwadron, Ed Murphy, and Chris Rhomberg, who is also a Fordham University professor, work with interns from the school, who conduct the interviews in New York City. 
 
Above: Interns Emma Kilroy, foreground, Andrew O'Grady, center.
 

UREL BERNARD BAPTISTE

Security Guard 
 
“I just came to the United States exploring, you know, vacationing,” he said, “and then I forgot to go home.”  Like many immigrants, Urel Bernard Baptiste finds himself away from home for work. He has the 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. shift at a Fordham University residence. Bernard, as he is called, stumbled upon the job before the students that he safeguards were even born, and has since remained at his post by chance.
 
Born in Dominica, he grew up on the island of Antigua, which he considers to be home. “Technically I was looking for a job when I came, but not here in New York. I never planned to leave home.” Then he got an offer to work at Fordham from an Antiguan friend who was head of security. Bernard’s wife still lived back home, but encouraged him to give it a try. 
 
After two years in New York however, he was homesick; he missed his wife and four children. One night, he packed his things and went to the airport, ready to return home for good. That’s when he hit a speed bump: “I forgot my passport. I took a yellow cab all the way back to the Bronx and searched the house where I stayed, but couldn’t find it.” He was encouraged to stay one more night until he could get his things together. “And then I thought, what if I wasn’t supposed to go home after all?” Soon, he found himself welcoming his wife and children to New York City, where they’ve lived since. “I will keep working here until my son is done with his education,” Bernard said, “which won’t be long. Then I’m leaving New York, and leaving this country. I’m going home.” He’s not happy with management decisions to use a third party contractor to supply some of the security guards at the university… “They go to the security office, pick up their radio, pick up their guest log, and they are told ‘Go to Alumni Court South.’ These people don’t know where the hell that is. They don’t know the students’ faces. They don’t know the RAs, the RDs, the supervisors. They don’t know what goes on here, and it is bad for the school.”
 
After a recent situation involving a resident requesting to retrieve a bag from his room without signing in as a guest, Bernard’s higher-ups scolded him for making a judgment call. They told him that after 22 years on the job, he was “not qualified to make that sort of a decision without calling a supervisor first.” He was angered, but swallowed his emotions. “I have never felt so degraded at a job. All my children have good jobs except me; I’m here working this shit.” He says his pension won’t cover all the costs for his family, so he keeps working. “But I’m leaving soon. And when I do, I might write a letter to Fordham. A long letter. But right now…I try to make the best of it. I call it survival,” he said.  As told to Elaina Weber.
 
GINA EFFAH
Restaurant Manager, Cashier
 
She has been a manager and cashier at Popeye’s on West 14th Street since 2006. Although she lit up when talking about the friendships she’s made there, this one-day-a-week job is not something Gina intends to do for the rest of her career. Her plan to go straight into the sciences after high school was sidetracked when she had the first of her three children while studying to earn her associate’s degree. Then her father passed away, and she had to pay for her education on her own.
 
Now 30, Gina studies radiology part time, works at Popeye’s, and cares for her family. Her husband works as a nurse, but they live paycheck to paycheck. Her job at Popeye’s is a way to make a little extra money, and push herself through the remainder of school.
Gina says that her coworkers are like family, yet the majority of them are teenagers, so the faces are always changing… The perks of the job include free food, some of which she can take home to her family. But once she finishes earning her associate’s degree, she says she’ll leave to work as an X-Ray Technician, and then go on to pursue a bachelor’s of science.  As told to Sara Gillooly.
 
ALEX MOLD
EMT, Researcher
 
I have two jobs that I love. One of them is for Fordham University, where I am an Emergency Medical Technician (EMS) and a crew chief. I have had some amazing experiences, like the time I helped deliver a baby. As a collegiate EMS organization, pregnancy and delivery are something that I have not experienced much, so this day stood out. I have also been responsible for saving a life. The scariest moment happened when a person received massive cranial trauma and did not realize it. Later he thanked me for taking care of him. It felt good.
 
My other job at Fordham is as a research assistant for Dr. Qize Wei. He’s studying the role of MyoGEF (cell invasion) on breast cancer. Since I have worked on this project, I have been published twice and been responsible for teaching three undergrads how to work in the lab. When they ask questions, I see a part of me in them. They experience the same eagerness towards learning the procedures as I had when I first started in the lab. 
Alex Mold, student intern, Workers Stories project.
 
 
 

ABOUT THE STORIES: NWU began offering free classes for Fast Food Workers at our headquarters, and this year partnered with Fordham University’s Dorothy Day Center. They gave us six interns to gather the stories of New York City’s low-wage workers, which we post on the NWU site. The Workforce Development Institute in Albany sponsors the website, and recently Riverside Church joined us in our efforts to tell more of these stories.

 
Read more at http://workerstories.org

 

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10/29/2014 - 3:44pm

From 1933 to 1945, labor supporter Eleanor Roosevelt was First Lady of the United States. A recent book by NWU Member, Brigid O’Farrell, and an upcoming play hosted by SoCal NWU members explore the longest-serving First Lady’s passions. 
 
On the Stage: On Saturday, Nov. 22, SoCal NWU and & SoCal Arbeter Ring present the one-woman show, Hick: A Love Story, starring Terry Baum, and written by Baum and Pat Bond. The production explores Lorena Hickok’s life and romance with the First Lady. The venue is SoCal Arbeter Ring at 1525 S. Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035. Tickets are $10 at the door, first come first seated.
 
The Backstory: To get the scoop on the patrician First Lady and the charming butch reporter, Baum traveled to Hyde Park, NY, to study original documents, including Roosevelt’s letters, which are in the “Lorena Hickok” files at the FDR Library. Of the letters the First Lady wrote to Hick, more than 2000 survive; they date from 1933 to 1962—the year Roosevelt died—says the play’s star. The missives were discovered in 1978, when aresearcher opened 18 boxes willed to the FDR Library by Hickok. Baum also interviewed people who knew Hick, a prominent journalist of her time whose stories were published on the front page of the New York Times.
 
The two women met during FDR’s first Presidential campaign in 1932, when Hick convinced her editor that the candidate’s wife was worth her own reporter. The love affair went on for several years, but the friendship lasted a lifetime. Hick helped Roosevelt become an outspoken, media-savvy activist for democracy and human rights, and one of the most powerful women of the 20th century. See a promo for the play on YouTube.
 
On the Page: In October, Bay Area member and author Brigid O’Farrell gave a talk celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Wider Opportunities for Women at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, DC, and discussed her most recent book, She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker, (Cornell University Press, 2010). The volume explores the First Lady’s life long activism on behalf of working women and theirunions, including her role as chair of President Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women. A journalist and author, Roosevelt held membership in The Newspaper Guild for more than 25 years. O’Farrell’s book has taken her across the country to facilitate the workshop: “Using Our Past to Change our Future: Leading with Eleanor Roosevelt.” 
 
Photos courtesy: progressinvolvment.com and the authors.
 
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10/29/2014 - 3:20pm
By Barbara Mende
 
Traditional publishing has become so restrictive that many authors say, “Forget 7 percent royalties and giving up rights to media that haven’t been invented yet! I’ll self-publish.” That can be a great alternative. More accurately, it can be a lot of alternatives, including much higher royalties. But do your homework first, so you’ll know what you’re getting into. In 2010 the Grievance and Contract Division (GCD) had six inquiries about PublishAmerica (now America Star), one of the more notorious subsidy presses. The year before, we had two inquiries. There have been none since. 
 
Inquiries about the more substantial firms that became part of Author Solutions (including AuthorHouse, iUniverse, and Xlibris) began to decline, as well. Instead, authors were taking the do-it-yourself route: producing their books through Amazon’s CreateSpace or Ingram’s Lightning Source. They also pursued their own contracts with editors, illustrators, and packagers.

 
Subsidy presses are still out there. Now their projects are trending upmarket. We still hear frequently about Tate Publishing, which turns out decent products for which authors pay a few thousand in “marketing” fees. Author Solutions is now “a Penguin Random House Company,” and has alsoteamed up with Simon & Schuster to create Archway Publishing. Other niche imprints are beginning to emerge. How can an author resist? While mainstream publishers don’t exactly promise to monitor self-published books in the hope of finding another Fifty Shades of Grey, one can hope. 
 
So choices abound. A good place to start your self-publishing research is the NWU-Book Discussion Group. (Find directions on how to join at www.nwu.org/writer-discussion-listservs). And be sure to send your self-publishing agreements of any type to advice@nwu.org for review before you sign them.
Mende is NWU’s Grievance and Contract Division Coordinator.
 

 

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10/09/2014 - 9:59am

"Ruth and the Green Book", by member Calvin Ramsey, was recently named one of the 10 Books That All Georgians Should Read 2014 and Books All Young Georgians Should Read for 2014. [Read our NWU feature story about "Ruth And The Green Book".] " The “Books All Georgians Should Read” programs are a celebration of Georgia's rich literary heritage, and the lists are compiled annually by the Advisory Council for the Georgia Center for the Book. Recommendations come from individuals and groups around the state; the intention is to promote reading and discussion across genres while, at the same time, cultivating appreciation of the literary arts.

The "Green Book", the actual title of which was "The Negro Motorist Green Book", was published for 3 decades, starting in  1936, to advise African-Americans traveling in the U.S. of hotels, beauty shops, gas stations and other places at which they would not be excluded because of their race. Read more...

Follow the Georgia Center for the Book on Twitter.

 


 

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Union News

05/03/2011 - 4:50pm

02 May 2011

Shadow of 9/11 Attacks Hangs over Journalism, Says IFJ on World Press Freedom Day

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) marks this year’s World Press Freedom Day by focusing on the legacy of the terrorist attacks on 11 September in New York and Washington ten years ago. The Federation plans to launch a major campaign - Journalism in the Shadow of Terror- to consider the impact of those terrible events and to call for a reversal of the tide of legal and official intimidation of journalism and attacks on civil liberties that has followed the events of 2001.

“The last ten years have seen an alarming erosion of press freedom as governments adopted a hard line in the fight against terror,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “There is no doubt that journalists have been among the prominent victims of a widespread assault on the democratic rights of all citizens and this has to change.”

The IFJ says that the laws introduced in the wake of the attacks of 11 September in America such as restrictions of movement and the right to investigate public authorities and to report and to publish freely have reduced the rights of journalists. The Federation is calling for a fresh debate on the new information landscape and how governments are responding to the challenge of groups such Wikileaks in exposing government secrets and the impact this has on journalism.

04/14/2011 - 4:00pm

 

 

 


NWU/UAW 1981 at the NYC May Day rally. The Union of Huffington Post Writers and Bloggers "call on journalists and bloggers to join the National Writers Union."

 

 

See http://www.facebook.com/l/60538/www.hpub.org for details."

 

04/12/2011 - 6:18pm
nwu.org

NEW YORK, NY: A class action lawsuit was filed today against The Huffington Post.com, Inc., Huffington Post owner Arianna Huffington, her co-owner, and AOL.com, Inc. alleging that thousands of writers and other content providers have been wrongly denied any compensation for the substantial value they created for the Huffington Post.  The Huffington Post was recently sold to AOL for $315 million.
 
“Arianna Huffington is pursuing the Wal-Martization of creative content and a Third World class of creative people,” said Jonathan Tasini, the lead plaintiff in the suit. “Actually, that is unfair to Wal-Mart because at least Wal-Mart pays its workers something for the value those workers create. In Arianna Huffington’s business model, economic gain is only reserved for her.  Everyone else, apparently, is expected to work for free regardless of the value they create. Greed and selfishness is the order of the day.”
 
The class action, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of a putative class of over 9,000 writers and other content providers to The Huffington Post.com states deceptive trade practices and unjust enrichment as causes of action.  The complaint requests at least $105 million in damages on behalf of The Huffington Post’s uncompensated writers and other content providers.

THE FULL COMPLAINT CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE: http://www.huffingtonpostlawsuit.com/uploads/Tasini_et_al._v._Huffington_et_al._Filed_Complaint_April_12_2011.pdf
 

03/30/2011 - 10:15am

VICTORY!!!

Quick response to USLAW's alert by 452 people helped to free the four young journalists who had been detained by Iraqi security forces following a demonstration by workers demanding respect for labor rights, reliable electricity, clean water, sanitation and jobs for the unemployed.

INTERNATIONAL LABOR SOLIDARITY WORKS!!!

03/23/2011 - 3:28pm

NEW YORK CITY:  March 23, 2011 –  "Judge Denny Chin's decision that the Google Book Settlement was 'not fair, adequate and reasonable' gives the National Writers Union even more reason to pursue other means through Congress and the courts to protect and affirm writers' rights against this sort of corporate infringement," declared Larry Goldbetter, president of the NWU, the union of freelance writers. "Because writers' copyright infringement claims against Google have yet to be resolved, the NWU calls on Google to stop scanning without permission -- now." 

Google digitized the contents of several university libraries started in 2004 without getting permission of any of the copyright holders of those books and journals.  The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers sued, claiming infringement of copyright.  After a few years, the parties agreed to settle the law suit.  The proposed settlement and an amended settlement designed to meet objections to the first agreement not only tried to resolve rights arising from the illegal copyight.  The settlement also set up a new system to permit Google to sell the books it had digitized.  The National Writers Union and many foreign governments, individual writers, other writers groups and the U.S. Justice Department objected to the amended settlement.  Judge Chin rejected the settlement on March 23.

After seven years of Google digitizing books without the consent of the copyright holders, the only point that is clear is that the efforts of three parties – Google, the Authors Guild (AG) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) – to resolve the many issues involved were totally unsuccessful and left most matters yet to be decided, added Goldbetter.   NWU hopes that any future settlement talks will include other writers' groups like the NWU in addition to the Authors Guild, which, according to the judge, may have “antagonistic interests” with at least certain other writers.  (Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., 05 CIV 8136 (DC 2011), p. 20.  "NWU looks forward to hearing from Google, AAP and AG about how they plan to broaden the negotiations to include all those who offered substantive objections to the settlement," stated Goldbetter. 

03/22/2011 - 8:25pm

New York March 22 - NWU applauds Judge Chin's decision today rejecting the Google Book Settlement as not "fair, adequate, and reasonable." Along with our co-objectors, we will continue to pursue justice for authors and the establishment of a digital Library of Congress, not Google.

See the decision here: http://thepublicindex.org/docs/amended_settlement/opinion.pdf

See some initial news coverage on the decision here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704461304576216923562033348.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/nyc-judge-concludes-google-book-settlement-not-fair-adequate-and-reasonable/2011/03/22/ABG2DuDB_story.html

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-20045967-36.html

03/22/2011 - 10:35am
Right now 50 bloggers at ArtScene and the newly formed Huffington Post Union of Bloggers and Writers (HPUB) are striking the Huffington Post for unpaid wages. The Natioinal Writers Union and others are honoring what the Newspaper Guild called, their "electronic picket lines." We urge our members and everyone reading this, not to write for HuffPo until they brought to the bargaining table.
 
We can think of no better way to launch our campaign to establish a living minimum wage for on line content writers. From HuffPo, which was bought by AOL for $315 million to Demand Media, with a December IPO that valued it at $1.5 billion, huge profits are being reaped off the unpaid or penny-a-word labor of freelance writers. This can not go on.
 

The following article by NWU member John Sandman is the first of a series to further the discussion, struggle and buzz among freelance writers and bloggers, to gather the forces needed to make this fight. We look forward to hearing from you and to your participation in this campaign.

03/14/2011 - 3:37pm

News about union support for single-payer health care and HR 676 <singlepayernews@unionsforsinglepayerhealthcare.org>

Conyers Reintroduces HR 676 into the 112th Congress

On February 11, 2011, Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Democrat of Michigan, reintroduced Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, HR 676, the national single payer health care legislation, into the 112th Congress.  With minor changes, such as the addition of oral surgery to the benefits, HR 676 is the same and will provide all medically necessary care to everyone through progressive public funding and elimination of private health insurance companies.  There are no premiums, no co-pays, no co-insurance, no deductibles.

Congressman Conyers stated:  “Millions of Americans are frustrated with rising health care costs, and have a deep mistrust of private health insurance companies. The for-profit medicine model has resulted in rationed care and created undue stress and financial hardships for millions of Americans across the nation.

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