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

02/06/2014 - 3:10pm

Leaders and members of the National Writers Union joined the United Auto Workers (UAW) Community Action Program (CAP) Legislative Conference Feb. 2-5. The CAP Conference is the annual political and legislative gathering of the entire UAW. Together with some 1,500 delegates from across the United States, attendees lobbied Congress on issues on the UAW's list, including raising the minimum wage and stopping Fast Track trade authority. During the 4-day conference, delegates lobbied their members of Congress.

High-profile speakers at the conference including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who told union delegates they "built the middle class," and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, also addressed the gathering. Delegates also heard from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic labor stalwart Rep. George Miller of California, Congressional Black Caucus co-chair Rep. Marcia Fudge and others.

National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) President Larry Goldbetter, First Vice President Ann Hoffman, CAP Committee Chair  Keith Bagwell and New Hampshire CAP Committee Member Gail Kinney represented the NWU at the conference. Hoffman lobbied most Members of Congress from Virginia with two other members of the UAW.

During the conference, President Bob King announced that workers at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, TN will vote whether to join the UAW between February 12 and 14.  If the vote is successful, VW and the UAW will form a works council, similar to those in existence in Germany and other countries where VW manufactures.  A works council would be a new form of union representation in the U.S., but is well established and highly successful in Europe. King discussed the upcoming election on the "Ed Show" on MSNBC.

“Volkswagen is known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils,” said UAW President Bob King. “The UAW seeks to partner with [Volkswagen Group of America (VWGOA)] and a works council to set a new standard in the U.S. for innovative labor–management relations that benefits the company, the entire workforce, shareholders and the community. The historic success of the works council model is in line with the UAW’s successful partnerships with the domestic automakers and its vision of the 21st century union.”

The works council model has been successful for Volkswagen elsewhere. The company is recognized around the world as being a leader in respecting the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain, with standards that go beyond labor standards, according to a UAW press release.

 

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01/28/2014 - 12:39pm

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today announced the launch of a campaign to advocate for the safety of Ukranian journalists in the wake of an estimated 150 journalist injuries since protests began in Kiev. The IFJ has posted videos and other documented evidence of journalists' injuries and intimidation in Ukraine, including a link to this video of a December attack on journalist Tatyana Chornovol. The campaign includes safety tips for journalists as well as a suggested draft letter to the Ukrainian government (direct link to file download) urging the government to protect journalists. The IFJ urged its affiliates to fill out the letter and send it to communications@ifj.org.  

IFJ has also launched a social media campaign under the Twitter hashtag #SOS_Kiev. Find IFJ on Twitter @IFJGlobal. IFJ is asking journalists covering the protests in Ukraine to submit photos and messages to help the IFJ document the protests on the ground. Journalists can send post their photos and messages to IFJ on Facebook or to European Federation of Journalists on Facebook and use the hashtag #SOS_Kiev on Twitter.

 


 

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01/24/2014 - 12:34pm

 

On January 22, Judge George B. Daniels in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a “Preliminary Approval of the Revised Class Action Settlement” in the legal case called "In Re Literary Works in Electronic Databases Copyright Litigation."
 
This settlement grew out of class action lawsuits initiated in 2001 by the National Writers Union and two other writers’ organizations to compensate freelance writers for electronic uses of their work in print periodicals prior to the Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in Tasini v. New York Times.
 
The lead plaintiff in that case, Jonathan Tasini, was President of the NWU when the suit originated in 1995. The NWU brought this lawsuit because we believed that freelance writers, who were only paid for print publication, should be paid for electronic uses of their work. With the legal and financial backing of the United Auto Workers union (UAW), we were able to continue the fight to the Supreme Court, who ruled in our favor and established that work published in electronic media constitutes a separate use of the work, which publishers must pay for.
 
Because only the plaintiffs to the original Tasini lawsuit were compensated after that decision, follow-up class action laws suits were initiated to pay other freelance writers. After a long and contentious legal process, a revised settlement was negotiated and has received preliminary approval from the court. A fairness hearing on the settlement is scheduled for June 10.
Formal notice of the proposed settlement will be posted on our website for our members shortly. This will give Class members the opportunity to opt out of the settlement or to present objections to the settlement. The deadline for filing a request to opt out of the settlement or for filing objections is May 9, 2014.
 
The National Writers Union is pleased that under the proposed settlement the publishers that used our work without our permission or payment have agreed to pay more than what was stipulated in the first proposed settlement. We are also pleased that each author of an article or work that did not have a registered copyright will receive more compensation than originally proposed. Mostly, we are pleased that once the settlement is finally accepted by the court, money will eventually be in writers’ pockets where it rightfully belongs. We will provide detailed advice to our members about the proposed settlement.
 

For more information contact the National Writers Union: 212-254-0279

 


 

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01/16/2014 - 6:35pm

In two separate releases this week from the International Federation of Journalists, the group called for safety and justice for journalists around the world in their critical work covering anti-government protests. It urged journalists to be vigilant covering ongoing unrest and protests in Bangkok, Thailand and issued a link to its tips for journalist safety. The Federation this week also urged Russian to admit journalist David Satter whose visa to re-enter was rejected after he left his station in the country to cover protests in Kiev. Upon attempt to re-enter Russia, Satter's visa was rejected with authorities saying only that he was "undesirable." Satter has posted links to support statements from around the world on his website. Those interested in following his case can follow him on Twitter @DavidSatter.

The NWU sends out a message of solidarity to journalists in Thailand and to David Satter and supports demands that journalists be allowed safety and freedom of movement so that they can conduct their critical work.

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01/11/2014 - 6:47pm

 

Video about the NWU by Mauricio Niebla:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syiZ29aboIc

 


 

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01/09/2014 - 6:12pm

Press Release - via IFJ/EFJ
09.01.14

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have praised the tireless efforts of their affiliate, the Swedish Union of Journalists (Svenska Journalistförbundet, SJF), in helping to secure the release of two Swedish journalists who had been held in Syria since last November.

According to media reports, Magnus Falkehed, a Paris based reporter for Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, and freelance photographer, Niclas Hammarström, were freed separately over the course of the last few days. One of the men was freed on Saturday while the other was transported from the Lebanese border town of Arsal to Beirut on Wednesday.   

"We welcome the fantastic news that these journalists have been released and can now return to their family, loved ones and colleagues," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "On this day of great relief and joy we congratulate our affiliate, the Swedish Union of Journalists, and thank them for their dedication and unwavering commitment in helping to secure the safe return of their colleagues."

The two journalists were abducted by unknown assailants on November 23 as they were trying to leave the country. The IFJ/EFJ issued a statement appealing for their safe and immediate return (26.11.13).

Jonas Nordling, President of the Swedish Union of Journalists, said it was "extremely satisfying that Magnus and Niclas have been released." He sent his thoughts to the journalists' families, and said he hopes they can reunite as soon as possible.

While welcoming the journalists' release, the IFJ/EFJ have issued a stark reminder that many other local and international journalists are still being targeted in Syria. Since the country's uprising in March 2011, 30 Syrian and international journalists have been kidnapped and many are still being held.

According to the IFJ's List of Journalists and Media Killed in 2013, Syria was the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, with 15 media workers killed there last year.

"The release of these Swedish journalists represents a further positive step forward in the struggle for press freedom, justice and the right of journalists to work freely and safely in Syria," said EFJ President Mogens Blicher-Bjerregård.

"But there are a number of other cases of international journalists who are still being held there. We appeal to all the factions involved in the Syrian conflict to respect press freedom and to release the other journalists being held and return them to their countries."  

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries


 

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01/03/2014 - 1:56pm

 

 

Authors Guild Will Appeal Google Books Decision

 

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12/31/2013 - 12:19pm

IFJ PRESS RELEASE

108 Journalists Killed in 2013

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today issued a desperate appeal for governments across the world to end impunity for violence against journalists and media staff after posting 108 killings for 2013. Fifteen more lost their lives in accidents while on assignments.

According to the list released today by the IFJ, at least 108 journalists and media staff lost their lives in targeted attacks, bomb attacks and other cross fire incidents around the world. The 23rd annual IFJ list shows that the deadliest regions for journalists were Asia Pacific, with 29% of the killings and the Middle East and Arab World with 27%. The number of killings is slightly down by 10% on last year’s. View IFJ List of Journalists and Media Staff Killed in 2013.

The ongoing turmoil in Syria means it tops the list of the world’s most dangerous countries for media in 2013, while violence and corruption in the Philippines, insurgents in Pakistan, and terrorism and organised crime in Iraq and India have accounted for high fatalities of journalists in these countries.

The IFJ has stressed that while the numbers of killings are down, levels of violence are still unacceptably high and there is an urgent need for governments to protect and enforce journalists’ basic right to life. It has urged countries such as the Philippines, Pakistan and Iraq to take drastic action to stem the bloodbath in media.

The Federation has welcomed the UN Resolution establishing an International Day to End Impunity for crimes against journalists which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December.  

The Resolution “condemns unequivocally all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, as well as intimidation and harassment in both conflict and non-conflict situations”. It further stresses that” impunity for attacks against journalists constitutes the main challenge to the strengthening of the protection of journalists.”

“Following the United Nations’ resolution establishing 2 November as an International Day to End Impunity, we urge countries across the world to take immediate action to protect the safety and freedom of journalists,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “We give our full support to this new initiative which we believe will contribute to fighting impunity across the globe provided that governments are willing to adopt a zero tolerance approach to violence targeting journalists.”

The IFJ figures also show that violence against women journalists is on the increase. Six women journalists lost their lives this year, while many others were the victims of sexual abuse, intimidation and discrimination.

According to the IFJ statistics, many journalists were deliberately targeted because of their work and with the clear intention to silence them, a finding that conveys the critical need for countries to improve the protection and safety of journalists and punish the perpetrators of violence against media.

In response to this need, in October this year the IFJ launched its campaign to End Impunity for violence against journalists. This ongoing campaign, which kicked off with a focus on Pakistan, Iraq and Russia, calls on the governments of the countries with the highest death tolls of journalists to investigate these killings and bring their perpetrators to justice.

“It is clear that there is no sign of the horrific treatment of journalists abating,” said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa. “The UN Day for 2 November is of huge importance in the fight to protect the rights, safety and freedoms of journalists across the globe, including the many women journalists who deal with discrimination and violence on a daily basis.”

The statistics are as follows:-

•As of 31 December, the IFJ recorded the following information on killings of journalists and media staff in 2013:

Targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross-fire incidents: 108
Accidental and illness related deaths: 15
Total Deaths: 123

•The 23rd annual IFJ list shows that the deadliest regions for journalists in 2013 were the Asia Pacific where it is estimated that 31 journalists were killed, Middle East and Arab World with an estimated 29 journalists killed in the region, and Africa where it is estimated 22 journalists killed. Latin America comes in fourth position, with an estimated 20 journalists killed, and Europe records three journalists dead.

•Among countries with the highest numbers of media fatalities are:

Syria: 15
Iraq: 13
Pakistan: 10
Philippines: 10
India: 10
Somalia: 07
Egypt: 06

For more information contact:

Jim Boumelha, IFJ President, on +44 7963 12 53 43 (English, French)
Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary, on +32 479 07 71 94 (Spanish, English)
Ernest Sagaga, IFJ Head of Human Rights and Safety, on+ 32 477 71 4029 ( English, French)
Andrew Kennedy, IFJ Communications Officer, on +32 479 13 86 82 ( English)

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12/30/2013 - 2:09pm

International day for the elimination of violence against women

(25.11.2013) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has launched a global campaign to denounce violence against women journalists and alert public authorities on the need to end impunity for these crimes.

"Tragically, women journalists are under bigger threat than their male colleagues when it comes to attacks, bullying, threats, cyber-bullying, rape and abuse; all effective tools to silence women's voices in the media. As we encourage more and more women into the profession, their safety must be paramount," said IFJ Gender Council co-chair Mindy Ran.

According to the IFJ, seven women journalists were killed this year in the course of their profession. Rebecca Davidson, a New Zealand national, deputy head of programming at the Dubai-based Arabian Radio Network was killed on 8 February in a boat collision while on assignment in the Seychelles.  Journalist Rahmo Abdulkadir working for Radio Abudwaq was shot in Towfiq district in north Mogadishu, Somalia capital, when she was close to her house. Baiu Lu, from the Urumqi Evening News died on 18 April, in an accident while conducting interviews on a construction site in Urumqi, capital of Northwest China. Habiba Ahmet Abd Elaziz from UAE-based Xpress newspaper was killed on 14 August together with four other journalists in Egypt. Yarra Abbas, television correspondent for Al-Ikhbariyah TV was killed on 27 May, while covering clashes near the border with Lebanon. French reporter Ghislaine Dupont, who worked for Radio France International (RFI) was abducted and shot dead on 2nd November  together with her male colleague Claude Verlon in the Malian northern city of Kidal. Nawras al-Nuaimi, an Iraki TV presenter was shot dead on 15 December as she was walking near her home in the city

"We urge media organisations to do their best to fight violence against female media workers," says Mounia Belafia, IFJ Gender Council co-chair. "Respect for gender equality is an important step for this and media must be made accountable for mainstreaming gender in all their activities."

IFJ Gender Council Co-Chair Mindy Ran underlines, “As women, 70% of us will experience violence in our lifetime, a human rights violation and, according to the UN 'a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women'."  (read more)


 

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12/21/2013 - 8:39pm

Cake courtesy of the NWU Detroit Chapter

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Union News

02/03/2011 - 10:54am

Media Release

31 January 2011

IFJ Condemns “Desperate Tactics” as Egypt Targets Media

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Egypt to end the crackdown on journalism and media which has led to numerous beatings of media staff and censorship of television and communications networks. As the political crisis has intensified with renewed protests in the streets the regime of President Hosni Mubarak has become ever-more desperate to stop media coverage of the uprising.

Media reports say that the Government last week blocked websites and the Qatari- based international broadcaster, Al-Jazeera has been taken off the air. Its office in Cairo has been shut down and staff were arrested, their film confiscated. The studios of the French public broadcaster, France 2 have also been shut.

02/03/2011 - 10:05am

Media Release

31 January 2011

IFJ Welcomes Tunisian Union Strategy for Jobs and Press Freedom

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed calls from Tunisian journalists’ union to put free speech and rights of journalists at the heart of a new strategy for democracy in the country.

Members of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists meeting last week in the wake of dramatic political changes inside the country adopted a strategic plan to tackle the crisis of jobs and media restructuring following the collapse of the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

01/27/2011 - 1:27pm

Obituary of David Hardy, NWU Member and Union Brother by Patricia Hilliard
 
David Hardy had a long career as a news reporter. This was not easy in an era that did not accept African-Americans in this line of work, but as he explained, being African-American meant he had to work twice as hard and be twice as good as white reporters.  Working twice as hard earned him the recognition he deserved. He was given the United Press International Investigative Reporting Award for his investigative articles on a corrupt senator, David Friedland, who was wanted by the FBI. The Society of Professional Journalists honored him for excellence in feature writing.   Hardy was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting by the Daily News. Ironically, later, David Hardy entered a legal battle against the Daily News for employment discrimination which he ultimately won. 

01/05/2011 - 11:36pm

UtterJargon.com homepage.

To Sebastian Pinera, President of the Republic of Chile....

01/05/2011 - 9:37pm
Media Release
31 December 2010
Please click here for the French version

Please click here for the Spanish version

IFJ Reports Heavy Media Loss to Violence after 97 Journalists Died in 2010

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today warned that journalists and media personnel remain prime targets for political extremists, gangsters and terrorists as it announced that at least 94 journalists and media personnel who were killed in 2010, victims of targeted killings, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents. Three other journalists lost their lives in accidents this year.

The IFJ list was issued just two days after police in Sweden and Denmark revealed they had foiled a potentially deadly bomb plot against Jyllens Posten, the Danish newspaper that in 2005 set off protests around the world when it published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed.

Elsewhere the IFJ list puts Pakistan top of the list of the most dangerous zones for journalists in 2010, ahead of Mexico, Honduras and Iraq.

"Nearly 100 journalists killed is a heavy loss which ought to stir the world governments into action to offer better protection to journalists," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "The sheer number of murders and conflict related incidents which claimed the lives of journalists and media personnel around the globe this year has brought into sharp focus the high risks associated with the practice journalism today."



12/21/2010 - 2:03pm

The hearing for Penguin v. Steinbeck which was originally scheduled for this Wednesday, December 22nd at 4 PM has been postponed until January 20th at 4 PM. The location is the same, at 500 Pearl Street, in Courtroom 17 A in front of Magistrate Gabriel W. Gorenstein.

We will be sure to send out a reminder the week before the new hearing date.

Thank you again for your concern and support on this very serious issue before the court.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

In solidarity,

Gail Steinbeck Gail Knight Steinbeck
Chairperson
CREATIVE PROPERTY RIGHTS ALLIANCE
1482 East Valley Road, Suite 100
Montecito, CA 93108
Phone: (805) 565-0275
Fax (805) 565-0276
www.creativepropertyrightsalliance.org

12/17/2010 - 3:05pm

Dear Artists and Authors,

 
On Wednesday, December 22nd a Goliath publisher will once again attempt to dilute the rights of artists to control their copyrights and exercise their right to be paid fair market value for their works. In an ongoing battle between the publisher Penguin and the family of the Nobel Laureate, John Steinbeck, the publisher has sued the family for over $150,000.00 in legal fees, after the Steinbecks tried and failed to terminate and renegotiate their contracts under Sections 304C of the United States Copyright Act. The goal was to be sure the copyrights were held by John Steinbeck's family, as the Copyright Act intended, with the objective to renegotiate their contracts for present day, fair market value. While the upcoming hearing is basically only a fee issue, it has the potential to add another ominous layer to the precedent setting case, Penguin v. Steinbeck and will only be another impediment to artists' Federal termination rights. 
12/03/2010 - 2:14pm

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the political backlash being mounted against the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks and accused the United States of attacking free speech after it put pressure on the website’s host server to shut down the site yesterday.
The website’s host Amazon.com blocked access to WikiLeaks after United States officials condemned the torrent of revelations about political, business and diplomatic affairs that has given people around the world unprecedented access to detailed information from United States sources, much of it embarrassing to leading public figures.
“It is unacceptable to try to deny people the right to know,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “These revelations may be embarrassing in their detail, but they also expose corruption and double-dealing in public life that is worthy of public scrutiny. The response of the United States is desperate and dangerous because it goes against fundamental principles of free speech and democracy.”

12/01/2010 - 4:53pm

 

NEW YORK CITY November 18 – As part of the Interfaith Worker Justice Day of Action Against Wage Theft, about 30 former Inkwell workers filed their case in federal court for over $360,000 in back wages. The freelance writers, translators, graphic artists and editors worked for Inkwell Solutions, a “development house” used by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to outsource the production of textbooks. In 2009 the workers completed a textbook project for the Texas school systems, in English and Spanish. Inkwell closed their doors and the owners tried to skip town without paying the freelancers.

11/12/2010 - 1:23am

GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION

November 23, 2010

To Mark One Year Since Massacre In Philippines

Dear friends and colleagues,

We write to you on behalf of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) to alert you to activities around the world to commemorate the world’s single biggest atrocity against journalists - the brutal murder of 32 journalists and media workers in a massacre of at least 58 people in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, in the southern Philippines on November 23, 2009.

At the request of colleagues attending the IFJ Asia-Pacific regional meeting in September 2010, the IFJ Asia-Pacific office is working with our friends in the Philippines to prepare a Global Day of Action on November 23, 2010, to mark the one-year anniversary of the massacre.

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