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

09/04/2013 - 4:58pm

Tell White House & DOJ: Stop the Attacks on Journalism

"Democracy demands an independent news media free of government interference. But recently, journalists have been the subject of surveillance in the government's pursuit of whistleblowers. Through intimidation and harsh prosecution, officials are attempting to silence those voices brave enough to speak up about government wrongdoing. We know that our country has real and serious national security concerns, but we strongly believe authorities have crossed the line by targeting journalists. We are preparing to send a letter to the White House and Department of Justice asking President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to stop and renounce their actions threatening America's free press. Please join with us by signing the letter, and by adding your own comments as desired."

Sign the letter here.

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08/30/2013 - 10:44am

Immediate Release: National Writers Union Joins With Wisconsin Solidarity Sing Along on Friday August 30, 2013

Contact: Jonathan Rosenblum, jdrlabor@aol.com

On March 11, 2011, Scott Walker signed into law Act 10, effectively ending collective bargaining for most Wisconsin public workers. Since that very day, a group of citizens has gathered every weekday to sing civil rights and political protest songs at what has become known as the “Solidarity Sing Along” in the Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda. This act of solidarity has continued uninterrupted—more than 600 sing alongs, more than 6,000 songs, sung by thousands of participants of all ages.

But for the past month, the Wisconsin State Capitol Police has declared nearly every sing along to be an unlawful assembly without a police-approved permit. The singers have responded that they don’t need a permit from the Walker Administration to exercise their civil rights of protest. On July 24, the police began arresting and handcuffing singers. Each of the approximately 200 people arrested has been assessed a fine of $200.50, plus a $36 jury fee for those requesting jury trials. On August 26, police singled out for a show of force a black supporter of the sing along who was photographing that day’s events.  When he sought to leave—an option the police had offered others for weeks— they wrestled him to the ground and later charged him with felony battery.

Taking a cue from one of the sing along’s spirituals, “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” the National Writers Union declares that it “ain’t gonna let nobody turn” the Solidarity Sing Along around. National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981 stands with Wisconsin public workers in the fight for collective bargaining, and with the Solidarity Sing Along.  Our members have been there with you, on the line and in the Rotunda.

On August 10, our Delegate Assembly in Chicago unanimously passed a resolution of support. This Friday, August 30, we will come to the State Capitol and meet you on the State Street side at the old oak tree—the Solidari-tree—to present a check to the First Amendment Protection Fund of Wisconsin.

We invite everyone in singing distance or who can make the trip to join us!

View and “Like” the Wisconsin Solidarity Sing Along on the PBS “This Land Is Your Land Project” honoring Woody Guthrie here

 

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08/28/2013 - 3:15pm

NWU STATEMENT OPPOSING GOVERNMENT INTIMIDATION

The recent 9-hour detention of David Miranda at Heathrow Airport on August 18, marks another step in journalists, and journalism, becoming targets in the US sponsored, global War on Terror. Miranda is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who has written about, and released some of the thousands of documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.  He had gone to Berlin to meet with US film-maker Laura Poitras, who has worked with Snowden and Greenwald, and was returning home to Rio de Janeiro.

After the 9-hour interrogation, without a lawyer, Miranda was released, but his cell phone, laptop, camera and other electronic equipment were taken. This arrogant abuse of power is a serious escalation in government intimidation, and threatens journalists everywhere.

Schedule 7 of the U.K.'s Terrorism Act gives police the power to stop and search individuals without a warrant or even probable cause. Those stopped have no right to a lawyer, and it is a crime to not cooperate. 

David Miranda's detention is part of a growing web of intimidation. Recently the AP phone lines were secretly and illegally tapped in their NY, CT, and Washington DC bureaus, including the House of Representatives press gallery. More than 100 lines were tapped for two months, including the home and cell phones of individual reporters, essentially exposing all the confidential sources they had. A New York Times reporter faces jail in yet another Obama Administration attempt to stop leaks. And of course, there is the brutal treatment of Chelsea (Bradley) Manning followed by a 35-year sentence, for exposing war crimes, including the indiscriminate killing of civilians and journalists.

The National Writers Union stands firmly on the side of a free press and the public's right to know. We stand with all those who seek to report the truth and will not be intimidated. 

On August 11, our 2013 Delegate Assembly unanimously passed a resolution which reads:

[We] support the "Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012," and the extension of similar whistleblower protections to all government employees as well as employees in the private sector; and

[We] call for the United States to cease and desist from efforts to detain, arrest or prosecute any and all whistleblowers, institutional, corporate or government, for attempting to provide the public with information necessary to the operation of an informed democracy; and

That the United States take whatever steps necessary to affirmatively protect, defend and further the First Amendment freedoms of the press and of expression, and those freedoms which have, by treaty, become the law of the land, and are recognized as essential to a free and informed society.

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08/16/2013 - 6:01pm
Former National Writers Union member Nancy Schiffer has been confirmed as a Member of the National Labor Relations Board.  Schiffer, former AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel and a former attorney for the United Auto Workers, was one of five members of the NLRB confirmed recently by the U.S. Senate.  This is the first time in a decade that the Board has had five confirmed members, as required by law.
 
The other members of the NLRB, which oversees union representation elections and hears labor disputes involving private sector workers, are:  current NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce; NLRB attorney Kent Hirozawa, currently the chief counsel to Pearce; and former management attorneys Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson.
 
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08/14/2013 - 4:54pm

READ ALL ABOUT THE 2013 NWU DELEGATE ASSEMBLY (August 8-11)

The National Writers Union held its biennial convention in Chicago from August 8th to 11th. Here are some congratulatory messages from friends and allies around the country and the globe:

Dear Sisters and Brothers:  We know that the mega-corporations think they own and control publishing.  And we know that organizing writers is like herding cats. So -- let's imagine a huge herd of lean, hungry, highly organized cats coming at those fat-cat corporations, and clawing the stuffing out of them. I can't wait.

In solidarity<

Ursula K. Le Guin

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Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Greetings in solidarity from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America! I want to take this opportunity to thank Larry Goldbetter, Edward Hasbrouck, and Ann Hoffman of the NWU for continuing to work for US copyright owners and making submissions to the Copyright Office and the Judiciary Committee on a Small Claims Copyright Court and Orphan Works Legislation. I hope that the SFWA and NWU can work together on other projects in the future to defend and advocate for writers’ rights.
 
Michael Capobianco
Past President, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA)

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The Newspaper Guild
Dear NWU Delegates:

I send this message of solidarity to you as you meet at your delegate assembly in Chicago.
The Newspaper Guild-CWA has worked closely with NWU in the last couple of years. It’s been a pleasure to work with your President, Larry Goldbetter. The work just seems to get tougher, but the fight is worth it, and we share that fight.
I believe the future of journalism and certainly the future of media, has yet to be written. As writers we need to expand our list of allies, and I know that NWU and Larry are on my list.
Workers of every stripe, whether they be freelance, temporary or full-time are suffering in America. It doesn’t have to be that way and that’s why you work so hard for NWU.
We in the Guild share your mission and your fight for social justice. Good luck with your meeting.
 
In Solidarity,
 
Bernie Lunzer
President, TNG-CWA

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The Association of Taiwan Journalists expresses our solidarity and our best wishes for the National Writers Union`s congress in Chicago this weekend. We were very pleased to see that the NWU has returned to active participation in the International Federation of Journalists and that your president was able to meet and hold productive discussions with our two delegates to the Dublin Congress. Freelance and all journalists in the United States and Taiwan face similar challenges of confronting the impact of increasing media ownership concentration in the hands of tycoons and conglomerates, intensifying pressure on working conditions and even growing threats to freedom of expression and news freedom. We hope that cross-Pacific cooperation and solidarity between our organizations will deepen and expend in the coming year. Best wishes from all of us in the Association of Taiwan Journalists.

ATJ President Ms Chen Siao-yi
August 9, 2013

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National Union of Journalists UK and Ireland

On behalf of the 30,000 members of the NUJ in the UK and Ireland can you please extend our solidarity and best wishes to members of the National Writers' Union. They are challenging times in the industry here and in the US right now, making the work of trade unions more vital than ever, both in defending hard fought for terms and conditions and jobs, as well as standing up for quality and standards.

I hope your delegate meeting goes really well. All best wishes from us in the NUJ,

In solidarity,
 

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07/29/2013 - 9:31pm

"When the news spread through Washington this weekend that the unwavering, pioneering journalist Helen Thomas had died, there must have been a collective sigh of relief throughout the halls of Washington."  continued here.

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07/20/2013 - 9:02pm

UAW statement on the Trayvon Martin tragedy
07/19/13

DETROIT -- UAW President Bob King released this statement today on the Trayvon Martin tragedy: "The UAW is deeply saddened by the Trayvon Martin case and the tragic death of a vibrant young man. The Florida Stand Your Ground law is an inhumane piece of legislation that is leading to horrifying consequences, not just this case, but many others.

"The UAW has a long history of fighting for fairness and equality for everyone in society and will be a strong voice for bringing justice in the Trayvon Martin tragedy. We are committed to work together with our allies in fighting for justice, beginning with the August 24 March on Washington. We encourage all UAW members and citizens of conscience to join us in Washington, D.C., to demand enactment of a new Voting Rights Act and justice in the Trayvon Martin tragedy."

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07/19/2013 - 9:49pm

The Steering Committee of the Chicago Chapter of the National Writers Union endorsed Iraq Veterans Against the War's (IVAW) forthcoming public event, "Twenty-first Century Militarism:  Occupation Abroad and Resistance at Home."  The event will be held at the Chicago Temple, Friday night, August 2, 2013 at 7 pm.  Featured speakers are Christian Parenti and Nick Turse, both internationally-known scholars and activists.  More information can be found here.

This event is part of IVAW's National Convention that will be taking place in Chicago that weekend.
For more information, please visit IVAW here or contact Kim Scipes, Chicago Chapter Chair at 773/615-5019 or kscipes@nwuchicago.org .

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07/08/2013 - 10:27am
DEADLINE EXTENDED:  You can still win a week at a writers' retreat
 
As competition heats up to sign up the most new or lapsed members to the National Writers Union, we have extended the deadline for submissions.  Any new or long-lapsed member who puts your name on his/her application as the person who caused them to join or rejoin the union puts you one step closer to a week at Wellspring House in Massachusetts.  The contest will now cover any member signed up between June 1 and OCTOBER 1, 2013.  Questions:  contact Ann Hoffman, annfromdc@aol.com.
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06/24/2013 - 2:35pm

Newspaper Guild Poll Asks:
Is Edward Snowden a Patriot or Traitor?

A poll posted this morning on The Newspaper Guild website, www.newsguild.org, asks whether former NSA contractor Edward Snowden should be considered a patriot or a traitor. “We have an engaged audience of journalists and a larger community on social media that should make for an interesting survey,” Guild President Bernie Lunzer said. “Although the poll is anonymous, we think it will give us a sense of how people in our profession feel about Snowden’s provocative actions.”

Vote at: http://newsguild.org/snowden-question

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Union News

02/04/2011 - 1:29pm

 

Join the Global Wage Survey,

Get a Salary Check, Strengthen Collective Bargaining

The International Federation of Journalists is partnering with WageIndicator, a global wage survey that measures wages of over 1,500 different occupations and 400 industries in over 48 countries around the world to date.

With the participation of the IFJ and your union this year, journalists’ salaries will, for the first time, be assessed on a global scale...

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.