Pay The Writer!

Setting the Standard for Freelance Writers

The National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981 (NWU) is committed to establishing a living wage for all freelance writers. We believe that recent actions by AOL/Huffington Post set a dangerous precedent.

Working without pay should not be the expectation of online publications – or online writers.  As the nation’s most popular blog, the Huffington Post sets the status quo for other online publications. The NWU is committed to fighting for fair pay for freelance writers. So we want to work with the Huffington Post to set high standards of quality online journalism that fairly compensates its writers. For more campaign updates, sign up at



What's Up With the Huffington Post Boycott?


In late October, the National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981 withdrew from the boycott of the Huffington Post. The boycott began after the Huffington Post was acquired by AOL for $315 million last February. NWU and The Newspaper Guild-CWA were electronic picket captains with the support of many, many progressive writers, bloggers and organizations. For now, the boycott has run its course.

But the NWU is continuing and intensifying our Pay The Writer! campaign to establish fair pay rates for freelance journalists working for the Huffington Post and other online publications. On October 11, we held our first national event, a live-streamed panel discussing the future of online freelance journalism (video of the event is available here). We will continue to organize around these principles:

  • Freelance journalists working for for-profit, multi-million dollar online publications should get paid.
  • If you cover the news for anybody, you should get paid;
  • If you take on assignments, with an editor, you should get paid.
  • Occassional contributions by writers, educators or activists who are promoting a book or a cause could be unpaid and that fact should be acknowledged at the end of the article.
  • Frequent and regular contributors should be paid.

Writers create more than content. We create value and wealth. Just ask Arianna Huffington. Working without pay should not be the expectation of online publications – or online writers.  Quality journalism must be justly compensated.

Today we are in touch with hundreds more writers than we were when we started, and some are joining NWU. Over the coming months our organizing drive will become more active and visible, as hundreds and then thousands of freelance writers add their collective knowledge and wisdom to this campaign. We are confident we are gathering the forces that will make Pay The Writer! a reality. Sign up for campaign updates at and follow us on Twitter @PayTheWriter.


Cartoon by Ted Rall - Waiting for the Phone to Ring
Friday, February 11, 2011 - (C) 2011 Ted Rall, Distributed by Universal Uclick - AAEC Ref Num: 95663
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