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

10/03/2012 - 9:07pm

The National Writers Union (United Auto Workers) supports our brothers and sisters at Haaretz in fighting back against mass layoffs and management's refusal to bargain.  As we insist in our Pay the Writer campaign, changes in the news industry do not justify unfair treatment of journalists, the essential element of the business.
Larry Goldbetter, President, NWU   

Learn more here

10/03/2012 - 11:51am

Dept. of Justice E-Book Price-Fixing Settlement with Publishers Leaves Collusion Against Writers Unpunished

September 10, 2012

The anti-trust settlement approved September 7 in the Department of Justice case against major publishers, which accused them of colluding with Apple to fix prices for e-books through "agency pricing," resolves some of the pricing and revenue-sharing disputes between e-book publishers and distributors. However, the National Writers Union contends that the settlement fails to address publishers' more significant and harmful collusion against writers which deprives them of their fair share of e-book revenues.

The three publishers that have agreed to the settlement (Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster; Penguin and Macmillan are continuing to oppose the DOJ lawsuit) have committed to allow any e-book distributor – mainly Amazon, which has garnered 90 percent of the e-book market – to set end-user licensing fees for individual e-books below cost, so long as the distributor's total income exceeds its costs, aggregated over all the e-books it distributes during any 12-month period.

"What matters to writers is not how much each end-user pays for a license to an e-book, but what, if any, share of that revenue is passed on to e-book  authors," says NWU President Larry Goldbetter. "This settlement and the DOJ lawsuit do nothing about the ongoing collusion among publishers to deprive writers of our fair share of e-book revenues."

Writers have already been squeezed by many publishers into accepting contract amendments or clauses in new contracts that limit their e-book royalties to 25 percent of publishers' net receipts. At the same time, publishers are systematically violating existing contracts by paying writers of backlist works the same royalty percentage for e-book licenses as for sales of physical books – as little as 5 to 10 percent – rather than the 50 percent revenue share of subsidiary rights licensing revenues usually stipulated in writers’ contracts.

The NWU urges the Department of Justice to take action against publishers for contract and copyright violations and for conspiring against writers in ways that restrain trade.

“It's no coincidence that large and small presses across the country have all decided to cap e-book royalties at the same 25 percentage. And it's no coincidence that they're all misinterpreting their backlist contracts in exactly the same way -- to reduce writers' e-book royalties at a time when e-books sales account for an ever-increasing share of publishers’ revenue,” states Goldbetter.

"It's one thing for publishers and distributors to keep most of the price of a physical book to cover the costs of printing and distribution. But it's unconscionable for publishers or distributors to claim anything close to the same percentage of e-book revenues when they have no printing, binding, warehousing, or shipping costs."

Readers also suffer from publishers' attempts to "have their cake and eat it too" with e-book licensing terms, according to the NWU. Publishers have told librarians e-books are licensed not sold, and the license terms don't allow library lending. Amazon says explicitly,  "Kindle Content is licensed, not sold, to you by the Content Provider." At the same time, the NWU has found that many publishers are reporting e-book transactions as "sales" rather than "licenses" on authors’ royalty statements to avoid paying the higher 50 percent licensing royalty in most contracts.

“The mission of the National Writers Union is to promote the economic well-being of freelance writers as we did when we won the 2001 Supreme Court ruling Tasini v. The New York Times, which established that writers must be paid for electronic uses, in addition to print uses, of their work," added Goldbetter. “That’s why we have to expose publishers' illegal actions and demand that writers receive equitable royalties for both books and e-books.”


09/28/2012 - 1:55pm

24 September 2012

Dear Arthur, Jill and Mark,

Eighteen months after our contracts expired, we stand at the threshold of crisis. Our duty to the institution and to you is to speak plainly.  The company’s demands are untenable and destructive.

Last week, Times negotiators once again insisted on major cuts to our wages and benefits. These demands differ only in degree from earlier ones, with an ugly new twist. They come with a threat of impasse.

We implore you: do not permit The New York Times to be steered any closer to this abyss. This penny-wise path will leave us and the company worse off,  eroding the quality of our journalism now and in the future. The clock is ticking, as Bernie Plum has said. Indeed it is. We already see talented colleagues regularly being hired away because they can no longer afford to work here.

In March, the company’s chief labor executive, Terry Hayes, wrote:

“And the most important thing we can do is to eliminate the expense, risk and volatility of the defined-benefit pension plans.”

In response, the Guild proposed a new kind of plan that virtually eliminated volatility and risk to the company. Indeed, the risk was shifted to us, along with shrunken benefits.  The company has accepted this zero-risk, zero-volatility plan, but stunningly, now demands severe cuts in retirement contributions.

We have been asked for work rule revisions, job description reform, a single contract to cover print and digital employees. In almost every case, the Guild agreed. We believe our written agreement should catch up with the agile, enterprising spirit of the newsroom where, for instance, most meaningful distinctions between print and digital journalists have already been erased.

Still, the Times demands cuts to our compensation and threatens impasse.

Over the last eight years, while company revenues were declining, the cost of wages and benefits dropped even faster. In 2009, Arthur asked us to accept a 5% pay cut. We said yes, by a vote of 427 to 36.  Overtime is down by half since 2008.  Yet the news report in The New York Times, online and in print, is richer and more rewarding than ever.

We are doing more but making less.

For us, the most important thing is that you end the era of shriveling compensation. We urge you: step back from this corrosive, needless crisis.  Consider the relief that The Times has already won in these talks. Reflect on the revelations of this past decade. It wasn’t luck or brand legacy that allowed this great institution to make the transition to a digital era during an economic collapse. It was the people of The Times, working seven days a week, around the clock.

This generation of Times journalists has more than earned fair wages and benefits. The next generation expects them. You will need that generation every bit as much as you needed – and need – this one.

We will accept nothing less.

Through two wars, multi-nation revolutions, mass political polarization, and global economic turmoil, we all, managers and employees, have rallied to provide the world’s premier news coverage, and to persevere and succeed in business.

Terry Hayes told us what your “most important thing” is. We believed you. Now we have told you what ours is.

Believe us.

For a list of signers (512 as of 9/28/12) click here

09/18/2012 - 10:04am

Paul MacArthur, NWU VP (External Organizing): "Perhaps surprisingly, a byline error 'is not that uncommon,' notes MacArthur of the National Writers Union, responding in email to my questions. 'It’s happened to me a few times over the years' – and it’s 'exceptionally frustrating,' making it hard to use the work in a portfolio.(by Erik Gunn) See article here


09/11/2012 - 11:21pm



256 West 38th Street, Suite 703 · New York, NY 10018 · 212-254-0279 · www.nwu.org

September 11, 2012


The National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981, extends our strong support to the 30,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) in their struggle against the Board of the Chicago Public School System and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 

A battle has been raging in this country to replace public education with for-profit charter schools.  This has been pushed by both the Republican and Democratic parties, as reflected by Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan’s support of Democratic Mayor Rahm Emmanuel in this fight.

The CTU has taken a brave stand, supporting students and teachers against this corporate attack.  We support the teachers’ demands for:

·         An evaluation system that is based on what the teachers can control;

·         Resources for teaching (160 schools have no libraries);

·         Recall rights for laid off members (who are often laid off because of working in “under-performing” schools, having nothing to do with their skills or                    performance),

·         Additional support staff (social workers have caseloads of 1,000, and most schools have no nurse),

·         A promised pay increase to cover the extended work day imposed by “Mayor 1%.”

NWU members have walked the picket lines with you; we’ve leafleted for you; we’ve joined in your demonstrations. We know the importance of a good union, with a democratically-elected leadership that has a vision of how the world can be, rather than merely dreading what it has become.

We extend our support and offer our writing skills to the courageous leadership and members of the Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1 of the American Federation of Teachers.  Your struggle is our struggle.  You can count on us to help you beat back the attack on public education, and set an example for the entire US labor movement!

In militant solidarity!

Larry Goldbetter

Larry Goldbetter, President

National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981

09/10/2012 - 7:41pm

Media Release

08 September 2012

IFJ Takes Campaign for Journalists’ Safety to UN General Assembly with Call to End Impunity

The IFJ yesterday took the first step to launch a new high-level campaign aimed at the General Assembly of the United Nations on the protection and safety of journalists. An IFJ delegation led by its president Jim Boumelha was received yesterday by the President of General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar as part of a coalition that came together following a conference on journalists held in Doha last January under the aegis of the Qatar National Human Rights Committee.

The coalition included the IFJ delegation comprising its president, Omar Faruk, President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), Celso Schroder, President of the Federación de Periodistas de América Latina y el Caribe (Fepalc), and Nestor Burgos Jr , chair of IFJ member union in the Philippines, the National Union of Journalists; Mohamed Makram, General Secretary of the Federation of Arab Journalists; Gianfranco Fattorini representing the Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign; and Ali Bin Samikh Al-Marri, Chair of the Qatar National Human Rights Committee.

“The killing of journalists continues to increase worldwide despite the plethora of international instruments, international human rights laws, universal human rights laws, covenants, declarations and resolutions which are simply ignored by many governments,” said Jim Boumelha “Our message to the General Assembly is to use whatever mechanisms it has in its power to force member states to discharge rigorously their responsibility under international laws to protect journalists and put a stop to impunity.”

Since the Security Council passed the much acclaimed resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists in conflict and impunity, over 600 journalists have died, the great majority of which murdered in their own countries. 

This message was echoed by the General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser at an ensuing news conference saying, ”It is unacceptable that journalists are being murdered every year but the killers often go free”. He added, “I strongly support the efforts of the Committee and encourage all peace-loving member states, civil society actors and the media sector to support endeavours leading to the endorsement of the recommendation of the [Doha] conference”.

The recommendations, resulting from the Doha conference were distributed by President  Al-Nasser to all the 193 members of the UN. They ask the United Nations to develop new binding tools for States to accept a standing obligation to protect journalists, to adopt reforms to its mechanisms and procedures such as through regional security organisations, expanding the mandates of Special Rapporteurs and relevant bodies, develop further monitoring, intrusive inspections and mandatory sanctions and finally create a unit to follow up media cases at the Human Rights Council.

“We need renewed action by the UN to start forcing member states to implement current provisions but to also develop new tools. It is clear that the incremental approach has proven insufficient and the IFJ will be spearheading moves to plug the gaps that allowed impunity to flourish,” added Boumelha.

Nestor Burgos made a special appeal to the General Assembly President on behalf of JUSTICE NOW!, the coalition of the families of the 32 journalists murdered in Ampatuan two years ago, and handed a letter from the families asking the General Assembly to help them achieve justice and expedite the prosecution and conviction of those involved in the massacre.

Omar Faruk raised the deteriorating situation for journalists in Somalia where seven journalists have been murdered this year, making it the most dangerous country for journalists in Africa.

Celso Schroder highlighted the press fatalities in Mexico which remain among the highest in the world, leading to vast self-censorship and the catastrophic situation for journalists since the 2009 coup in Honduras where government has been slow and negligent in pursuing journalists' killers.

The IFJ’s new initiative at the UN takes place as UNESCO launched a consultation on a new Plan on the Safety of Journalists and Combating Impunity.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries

09/05/2012 - 12:19pm
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul J. MacArthur,  pmacarthur@nwu.org


NEW YORK (September 4, 2012) - Paul J. MacArthur, Vice President of External Organizing and Assistant National Contract Advisor of the National Writers Union, will be conducting a contract and negotiation workshop at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 1, 2012 as part of Poynter's Writing and Selling Your Freelance Stories seminar.

The NWU contract and negotiation workshop will teach writers how to examine freelance contracts, negotiate better deals, and avoid contract language that can cause unforeseen problems. Freelancers will learn what terms they can't live without and what clauses absolutely must go.

"Many of the issues between freelancers and publishers are the result of bad contracts," says MacArthur. "By learning how to spot troublesome contract language and negotiate better deals, writers can avoid the pitfalls associated with bad contracts and make more money."

The Poynter Institute is one of the nation's top schools for professional journalists and news media leaders, as well as future journalists and journalism teachers. Poynter's Writing and Selling Your Freelance Stories seminar is designed to help writers, primarily those in the freelance market, tell better stories and sell them. For more information about the Writing and Selling Your Freelance Stories seminar, including potential partial scholarships, go to:  http://about.poynter.org/training/in-person/w401d-12

"I'm excited to present a contract and negotiation workshop at the Poynter Institute, which is known for its high quality journalism education," says MacArthur. "The most common refrain I hear from published writers is, 'I wish I attended your workshop before I signed my contract.' Whatever you do, don't sign on the dotted line without attending this workshop."

About the National Writers Union: Formed in 1981, the National Writers Union (UAW 1981) represents freelance writers in all genres, including fiction, poetry, academic writing, technical writing, screen writing, opinion, and journalism. The NWU offers free contract advice and grievance assistance to its members. The NWU's Grievance Officers have won members more than $1.49 million in grievance awards. To contact the National Writers Union, call (212) 254-0279, send an email to nwu@nwu.org, or send regular mail to 256 West 38th Street, Suite 703, New York, NY 10018. 

08/10/2012 - 1:40pm

On August 10, 2012, the NWU submitted comments to the White House "Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator" (IPEC) in response to a call for public input regarding the administration's strategic plan for intellectual property enforcement:

These comments continue the NWU's involvement in consultations with IPEC. In 2010, the NWU submitted comments in response to IPEC's initial call for suggested priorities for the newly-established IPEC office. In 2011, NWU representatives met with the IPEC and her staff to renew our call for action to protect and enforce writers' rights against infringements.

According to the NWU's latest submission to IPEC,"Copyrights are useless to writers if, as is the case today, they are effectively unenforceable.... The patterns of infringement we identified in our written comments and our meeting with the IPEC continue unabated, with no visible effort by the U.S. government to protect our rights as writers."

The NWU calls for concrete actions including:

  1. Establishment of a copyright small claims court;
  2. Criminal prosecution of large, sophisticated commercial publishers and intermediaries who traffic in infringing digital copies without actually holding rights to do so;
  3.  Recognition of digital and other self-publication as "normal commercial exploitation" of written and other work, protected by the Berne Convention;
  4. Diplomatic effort to enforce the rights of US writers under the Berne Convention against foreign laws permitting copying of "orphan" or "out of print" works; and
  5. Respect for the rights of writers in development of US schemes for "orphan" works.

The NWU will continue to pursue this agenda with the IPEC and Congress.

Links to the IPEC dockets are available on the NWU Book Division website.


08/01/2012 - 9:52pm

Sixth Annual Split This Rock Poetry Festival - March 27-30, 2014

Deadline November 1, 2012 for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: March 27-30, 2014. Split This Rock seeks "socially engaged poems, poems that reach beyond the self to connect with the larger community or world; poems of provocation and witness. This theme can be interpreted broadly and may include but is not limited to work addressing politics, economics, government, war, leadership; issues of identity (gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, body image, immigration, heritage, etc.); community, civic engagement, education, activism; and poems about history, Americana, cultural icons." Click here for more information

07/23/2012 - 10:47am
The Challenges of the Print to Digital Paradigm PDF Print E-mail


Larry Goldbetter (2nd. from r.) of NWU, Local 1981 - Photo By Tom Good

Larry Goldbetter (2nd. from r.) of NWU, Local 1981 - Photo By Tom Good

July 17, 2012
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter
The re-elected President of the National Writers Union, Local 1981, Larry Goldbetter, spoke with LaborPress recently about the issues and struggles the Local is engaging in. With 1,300 members, the union represents freelance writers of all genres.

The union’s main struggle is to ensure that writers get paid, because although the shift from print to digital writing and journalism has allowed more publishers to publish, the contradiction is that there are many instances where writers aren’t getting paid.

For example, the union has been waging a three-year battle against publisher Inkwell Solutions, where 60 workers (writers, editors, graphic artists and translators) in New York were owed $360,000 for writing content for textbooks in the Texas school system. Unfortunately, the owners took the $360,000, closed shop and then split, making it very unlikely that the workers will see any of those earnings. The union is still working out the details for a judgement in federal court. 

But Goldbetter noted that a big part of the legal case was to argue that the workers were really misclassified workers because in many respects they weren’t working as freelancers.

“The workers worked on company computers, they had to adhere to company work schedules and were supervised by four managers,” said Goldbetter.

According to Goldbetter, the New York State Department of Labor has a very good stand on the issue of misclassified employees, so by filing with the department, the union was able to have the owners held personally responsible.

“At a minimum, we were able to stop them from ripping off more people, and if the owners were to reopen another publishing business, the 60 workers would be the first in line to be paid,” Goldbetter said.

Two other fights include one with Natural Solutions, a magazine in the Twin Cities, and Heart and Soul magazine, which is almost exclusively written by and produced by black women on black women’s health. Goldbetter noted that the Twin Cities mag owes upwards of $25,000 to 15 freelancers of the NWU, while the Heart and Soul’s publisher owes 20 freelancers over $150,000 for work completed, published and sold.

“We already got $20,000 from the publisher, but we're still waiting for the outstanding balance to be paid to the freelancers."

These fights epitomize the landscape that freelance writers encounter daily as technological advancements have thoroughly toppled the dominance of print journalism.

“It’s amazing how many people are writing and not getting paid. The biggest contradiction the union is facing is that it’s easier than ever before to publish, but it’s harder than ever before to make a living at it,” Goldbetter noted.

One reason he gave for the dramatic shift from print to online journalism can be drawn from history.

“I think in general, anytime there have been significant developments in technology, the initial outcome has been for the new owners of that technology to reap tremendous benefits at the expense of workers.”

He likened the shift to digital to the introduction of mass production assembly lines.

“At first, autoworkers worked for next to nothing on the line. It took time for the workers to catch up and get organized. Under this system, the owners of the new technology use it to their advantage. If writers owned the technology, they could use it to develop writing, journalism, publishing and culture. But the owners organize it to make a fortune out of it for them.”

The union is also leading a long-term strategic campaign, Pay the Writer (paythewriter.org), which it launched soon after Arianna Huffington, the founder of the online news site Huffington Post, sold it to AOL for $315 million in February 2011! The focus of the campaign is to ensure that freelancers get paid for any content they produce for news sites and other online properties.

“The ultimate objective is to establish a pay standard for online journalism, similar to a minimum wage, although freelancers don’t get paid hourly wages. The motivation behind our boycott of HuffPo was that we believed that Arianna had the opportunity to do the right thing, but she instead decided to commit herself to doing the wrong thing. She could have set the standard by saying, ‘My freelancers deserve a minimum of a $1 per word.’ But she didn’t do that.”

According to Goldbetter, HuffPo pays its non-union newsroom staff, but it doesn’t pay its freelance writers, although the company now says it doesn’t hire freelance writers at all, which Goldbetter says is just not true.

Interestingly, Goldbetter and fellow NWU members had the opportunity to greet Ms. Huffington, who draws a $4 million salary as director of online content for AOL, when she was invited to speak at the National Women’s Law Center’s 40th birthday celebration on the Upper Westside. LP readers can see the encounter via http://vimeo.com/42020660.

“There are a lot of writers on the Upper Westside, so when they saw us standing outside with our banner, we got a tremendous response from people going to the event and people walking by,” said Goldbetter.

A $315 million sale of digital content and property is no chump change. “There’s plenty of money there, but the writers aren’t getting it, so that’s our apple,” Goldbetter said.

But he acknowledged the union faces an uphill battle to achieve the goals of the campaign because it requires a very big movement of writers, which is not easy.

“We need a bigger union than we have today. The campaign has to build a stronger union in order for it to win a pay standard. In order to do that, we have to really involve thousands of journalists who write everywhere to see what the lay of the land is.”    marc@laborpress.org

Original story here


Union News

07/27/2011 - 6:24pm

By Wendy Werris
Jul 27, 2011

In a move as significant for its breadth as its implications for the future of book coverage, the Los Angeles Times book review laid off all of its freelance book reviewers and columnists on July 21.

Susan Salter Reynolds was with the Times for 23 years as both a staffer and freelancer and wrote the “Discoveries” column that appeared each week in the Sunday book review. She was told that her column was cancelled and will not be replaced by another writer. “I don’t know where these layoffs fit into the long-storied failure at the Times,” she said yesterday, “but these are not smart business decisions. This is shabby treatment.”

Jon Thurber, editor of the book review, explained to Reynolds last Thursday that all books-related stories will now be done in-house, and that the decision to cease eliminate non-staffers was based on his freelance budget being cut. Richard Raynard’s popular “Paperback Writers” has also been eliminated. As children’s books editor at the Times for the last several years Sonja Bolle, who most recently wrote the monthly “WordPlay” column, said, “This indicates an even deeper contraction of the business, a continuation of a process at the Times that doesn’t stop here.” Bolle is most concerned about the shrinking coverage of children’s books. “This is a great loss for readers,” she said of the elimination of her column.

Four staffers remain in the book review section: David Ulin, Carolyn Kellogg, Nick Owchar, and Thurber. In December 2009 the Times laid off 40 features writers, including Reynolds and Bolle, but brought many of them back to work part-time. “We were paid about one-third of what we had been making, and lost our health insurance,” Reynolds says. "Then two months ago we were shifted to freelance status, which meant none of us were allowed to enter the Times building.” Thurber did make an exception for Reynolds so she could come to the office to pick up the multiple review copies she received daily in order to produce her column.

When contacted, Thurber deferred to Nancy Sullivan, the Times’s v-p of communications. “This was a cost-saving move,” she said, “strictly related to our budget.” Sullivan would not provide details on the number of freelancers who were eliminated last week. “Staff writers from outside the book department will take over for those who left. We have not changed our commitment to book coverage or the amount of space the Times will devote to it.”

07/22/2011 - 4:39pm

There was a "status conference" July 19th in New York in the ongoing Federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Google for scanning millions of books without the permission of the copyright holders.

The parties to the lawsuit asked for more time to try to negotiate a new settlement proposal. Judge Chin scheduled another hearing for September 15th, but suggested that if the parties had not reached at least an agreement in principle by then, he would set a schedule for the case to move forward toward discovery, briefing, argument, and decision of the legal issues without an agreed-upon settlement.

Law Prof. James Grimmelmann, who spoke at the NWU's forum on the case last year, has more about the hearing in his blog:

Earlier this year, Judge Chin agreed with the NWU and numerous other writers' organizations from around the world that the previous settlement proposal was not "fair and adequate".  But Google, the Association of American Publishers, and the Authors Guild (whose membership is limited to authors of books published by major publishers with substantial advances, unlike the NWU which is open to all writers) have continued to exclude the NWU and all other interested parties from their ongoing negotiations.

The NWU is continuing to monitor the case, and will advise our members on future developments.  Backgorund information incluidng the NWU's submissions to the court is available from the NWU Book Division at: http://www.nwubook.org

07/15/2011 - 5:07pm

BBC journalists in one-day strike

BBC Television Centre The BBC has apologised to viewers and listeners
for any disruption
Continue reading the main story

Journalists at the BBC have begun a 24-hour strike in a row over
compulsory redundancies.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted in favour of
industrial action last month because a number of World Service
journalists are facing compulsory redundancy.

The NUJ has warned that the strike will cause "widespread disruption" to
radio and TV programmes.

A BBC spokesman said the corporation was "disappointed" by the action.

Viewers and listeners saw some changes to BBC output on Friday morning
as a result of the strike.

BBC journalists in one-day strike
BBC          Television CentreThe BBC has apologised to viewers and listeners for any disruption
Continue reading the main story
Journalists at the BBC have begun a 24-hour strike in a row over compulsory redundancies.
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted in favour of industrial action last month because a number of World Service journalists are facing compulsory redundancy.
The NUJ has warned that the strike will cause "widespread disruption" to radio and TV programmes.
A BBC spokesman said the corporation was "disappointed" by the action.
Viewers and listeners saw some changes to BBC output on Friday morning as a result of the strike.

07/14/2011 - 4:09pm

Forty years after it was first published, the book Occupied America: The History of Chicanos has been banned, and its author, Rudolfo Acuña, widely published professor and prominent immigrant-rights activist thinks he knows why.

To Acuña, a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, it boils down to two things: numbers and control. He says that banning his book and shutting down an ethnic studies program that has been widely successful in Arizona are part of an effort to undermine social inclusion and financial uplift for Chicanos, or people of Mexican descent. Not only has his work come under fire, but Acuña has received numerous death threats from unidentifiable individuals who are at odds with his commitment to improving the system of education and living conditions for Chicanos. 

This work is very much tied to the immigration issue, which Acuña, who was born in Los Angeles to Mexican immigrants, says, "puts panic in people [and makes them think] 'We're losing our country.'"

This might be why so many politicians have rallied against his groundbreaking work in Chicano Studies - an academic program he helped develop in the late 1960s at California State University, Northridge. While this initiative remains the longest running and largest such program, many others have since been established at universities across the country, and even some middle and high schools. 

Not everyone is so keen on seeing Chicano studies expand. Among the program's most vocal critics is Arizona's attorney general, Tom Horne, who has called it a sort of "ethnic chauvinism." He has also claimed that the program is "an officially recognized, resentment-based program," even though the National Education Association has shown that such curriculum instead increases interracial understanding and significantly enhances students' interest in academic pursuits. 

07/14/2011 - 4:01pm

On June 21, 2011, just before heading on to the Delegate Assembly in Detroit, 1st V.P. Ann Hoffman and I met at the Executive Office Building in Washington, next door to the White House, with President Obama's lead advisor on intellectual property enforcement and policy issues.

This meeting was a follow-up to comments on writers' difficulties enforcing our rights that we submitted in 2010, shortly after the creation of the office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator: http://www.nwubook.org/NWU-ip-enforcement.pdf

The office of the IPEC doesn't carry out enforcement actions itself, but exists to coordinate the Administration's executive actions -- including copyright and other IP-related law enforcement -- and legislative recommendations such as those on future copyright "reforms": http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/intellectualproperty/

We received no response to our initial written submission, and writers' interests (especially vis-a-vis publishers and distributors) were not reflected in IPEC reports and strategic recommendations.

Accordingly, we requested a face-to-face meeting with the IPEC office. Somewhat to our surprise, we found the door wide open. (Not literally, of course -- admission to the building required not only an appointment and "screening" at the entrance to the White House compound but detailed submissions of personal information, in advance, to the Secret Service.)

We met for the better part of an hour with the head of the office, the "IP Enforcement Czar" herself, Ms. Victoria Espinel, along with four of her staff advisors she had invited to provide expertise on specific aspects of IP enforcement ranging from copyrights to international law. All had read our comments in preparation for the meeting, although they still seemed to be surprised when we began our presentation by identifying publishers and distributors as the most significant infringers of writers' copyrights.

06/03/2011 - 5:49pm

New York City June 1 - At a brief status conference this afternoon, Google, the Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers asked
Judge Denny Chin for additional time to explore settlement possibilities. Judge Chin scheduled the next status conference for July 19.

There's more on the google Books hearing from Publishers Weekly:

05/26/2011 - 11:08am

The Executive Committee of the Union of Cyprus Journalists is greatly concerned and expresses its abhorrence over incidents of violence against Turkish Cypriot journalists by the so-called “police” in the occupied part of Cyprus.

Following a second bomb attack against the car and the life of a Turkish Cypriot colleague and the shooting attack against the offices of a newspaper, an assault against journalists by “policemen” of the occupation regime comes to clearly confirm that freedom of the press is under undisguised persecution in the occupied part of Cyprus.

The latest incidents of violence against journalists came about when Turkish Cypriots colleagues, covering a protest march by employees of the so-called “Turkish Cypriot Airlines” made redundant by its closure, were beaten and had their cameras damaged by “policemen” trying to prevent them from carrying out their work.

The Union of Cyprus Journalists strongly deplores raw violence and stresses that it will report on the above mentioned actions against freedom of the press to all European and world journalists organizations.

The Executive Committee
of the Union of Cyprus Journalists

05/16/2011 - 5:19pm

When:  Sunday, May 29, 2011

What:  The first  "Net Needs News Day." 

Who:  Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Has invited members to simultaneously publish a cartoon about how the web is mostly useless without original reporting generated by newspapers.  (Note: Cartoonists are participating on their own.)  Society of Professional Journalists President  Hagit Limor will blog on this topic at www.spj.org.

Why:  Increase public's awareness and appreciation of journalism and its vital role to information on the worldwide web (95% of all original content online.)   

2nd reason: SPJ recently favorited a motion graphics video on the same topic for its new channel for journalists. ("The Fat Lady Has Not Sung: Why the Internet Needs the News" is also airing at Stanford University graduate classes) : http://www.youtube.com/user/spjournalists#p/a/f/0/PRdUTWn-Zvo     

Where:  As many newspapers as possible.

Contact:  Sharon Geltner, Froogle PR, geltner@netneedsnews.net.  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reqs.php#!/pages/The-Fat-Lady-Has-Not-Sung/168436819844750

05/06/2011 - 12:09pm

Situation of NWU member highlights benefit of Union Plus disaster help program

The case of At-large co-chair James Sandefur, whose family suffered losses in the recent tornadoes, highlights the benefits available to NWU members through Union Plus, a wide-ranging program for members of the UAW and AFL-CIO.

One program offers a $500 grant to any member suffering a documented financial loss as the result of a FEMA-certified natural disaster or emergency.  That program is available only to members who have participated for 12 months or more in the Union Plus credit card, mortgage or insurance program.

For more information on the disaster relief program, go to http://www.unionplus.org/money-credit/natural-disaster-relief-fund.

Remember too that Union Plus has a free prescription drug discount card for NWU members and their family members.  Go to unionplus.org and log in as a member of the UAW, then go to health benefits and download your cards.

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