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

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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12/18/2013 - 5:59pm
Release: December 18, 2013
The International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) has reiterated its call for the Iraqi government to end impunity for crimes against journalists, following the appalling murder of female TV presenter, Nawras al-Nuaimi, in the northern city of Mosul last Sunday, 15 December. Media reports say that al-Nuaimi, who worked for Al-Mosuliyah TV, was shot as she was walking near her home in the city. Her murder took place on a day of widespread violence across Iraq that left 20 people dead.

The presenter's death means that six journalists have now been murdered in Iraq since October, with five of those murders occurring in Mosul, one of the country's most dangerous cities. According to IFJ statistics, at least eight journalists have now been killed in Iraq this year. In October, the IFJ launched its End Impunity campaign which is calling on the governments of Iraq, Pakistan and Russia to investigate killings of journalists and bring their perpetrators to justice.

"We express our deepest sympathies to the family and colleagues of the journalist Nawras al-Nuaimi who was murdered in cold blood for doing her job and reporting on the truth," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.  "The escalation of intimidation, violence and brutality in Mosul and across Iraq in recent months is deeply concerning and we urge journalists working in the country to maintain their vigilance and take every measure to protect their safety at all times." The IFJ last week welcomed the news that the government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRG) had established a committee to monitor investigations into the killing of the journalist Kawa Mohamed Ahmed "Garmyani," and the Federation has reiterated its call for the Iraqi government to take similar positive steps.

"Our End Impunity campaign is calling for an end to violence against journalists in Iraq where it is estimated that at least 300 journalists have now been killed since the US invasion in 2003," added Boumelha. "We believe that the lack of accountability for acts of violence against journalists in Iraq reinforces the culture of impunity and is the main reason why journalists in the country remain in the firing line.

"The authorities in Iraq must take the action required to ensure that the perpetrators of such extreme acts of violence against journalists answer for their crimes.  We reiterate our call for the Iraqi government to set up a special task force to conduct a detailed and independent investigation into the murder of journalists in Mosul and across the country."

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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12/12/2013 - 3:46pm

Neutrality agreement paves the way for UAW representation after 8-year struggle

NEW YORK -- A majority of voting graduate employees at New York University chose to unionize in an historic election held on Dec. 10 and 11 that was certified by the American Arbitration Association late today. With a resounding 98 percent voting for representation by the UAW, NYU once again becomes the only private university in the U.S. with collective bargaining rights for graduate employees.

A groundbreaking Nov. 26 election and neutrality agreement between NYU and the Graduate Student Organizing Committee/UAW (GSOC/UAW) and Scientists and Engineers Together/UAW (SET/UAW) led to the election. The positive vote creates a bargaining unit of 1,247 graduate, research and teaching assistants (GAs, TAs and RAs) across NYU and the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, which expands the unit beyond the number of classifications covered under the previous contract that ended in 2005.

“This is a huge victory that puts us in a position to negotiate for the things that really matter to us,” said Natasha Raheja, a doctoral candidate and TA in Anthropology at NYU. “We are determined to reach an agreement on a strong union contract by the end of this academic year.”

The election and neutrality agreement set a positive tone for the election, built the foundation for a productive bargaining relationship with the administration, and serves as a model for graduate employees aspiring to organize at other private institutions across the country. Key provisions included:

  •  A commitment by the NYU administration – including department chairs, directors of graduate studies, and others – to remain neutral and refrain from influencing the election.
  • Provision for a neutral arbitrator to resolve any pre-election disputes within 48 hours.
  •  An agreement by the NYU administration to bargain in good faith for a contract upon certification of a majority vote in favor of unionization.

In a joint statement issued after the neutrality agreement was reached, the UAW and NYU expressed confidence that the agreement will “improve the graduate student experience” and “sustain and enhance NYU’s academic competitiveness.”

“Without an employer-driven campaign, the hostility and divisiveness that too often surrounds union votes never materialized. This election stands out as one of the most positive, democratic processes I’ve ever experienced,” said UAW Region 9A Director Julie Kushner. “NYU’s genuine commitment to neutrality fostered a remarkably respectful environment in which graduate employees were free to choose representation without threats or intimidation. For many, it was a celebration of their right to vote and an important affirmation of their valuable role in the NYU community. This election should be the start of a tremendous shift among university administrations across the country toward embracing the voices of dedicated, hardworking graduate employees like those at NYU.”

“The UAW of the 21st century is committed to finding common ground with employers to establish fair practices that allow workers to decide on union representation without employer interference and without fear and intimidation,” said UAW President Bob King. “We commend the NYU administration for allowing NYU graduate employees to exercise their democratic right to freely choose representation. NYU is a recognized leader among educational institutions globally; we hope this will serve as a model that inspires other private universities across the country to pursue similar agreements that recognize workers’ rights to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives and their campuses,” King added.

The UAW represents more than 45,000 academic workers across the U.S., including graduate employees at the University of Massachusetts, University of Washington, University of California and California State University.

Story here

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12/06/2013 - 5:38pm

UAW statement on passing of Nelson Mandela

12/5/13

DETROIT – The UAW released the following statement today on the passing of Nelson Mandela:

“The UAW deeply mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela, one of the most influential civil rights and social justice leaders of our time. Nelson Mandela demonstrated how commitment to core principles and social justice can change the world. His actions freed millions from the chains of racism. From his humble beginnings to his imprisonment for fighting against the apartheid system in South Africa, Nelson Mandela was an inspiration to the world.

“It was an incredible honor for the UAW, through the leadership of then-President Owen Bieber, to play a role in supporting Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists in the 1980s. President Bieber traveled to South Africa to support Mandela and other activists, and when Mandela toured the United States in 1990 after his release from prison, he insisted on celebrating with UAW Local 600 in Dearborn, Mich. During that trip, Mandela invited Bieber to be at his side during a rally at Tiger Stadium.

“Nelson Mandela will be missed by those who believe in civil and human rights for all people. The best way to honor his passing is to continue to work for his ideals. We are committed to doing so.”

This video details the UAW’s fight for global and human rights including work on behalf of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement.

 

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Union News

04/30/2010 - 11:54pm

Writers across the country are receiving letters from HarperCollinsRandom House, and other publishers asking them to sign e-book amendments to their book contracts.

  

 If you receive such a letter from any publisher, please contact the NWU's Grievance and Contract Division right away. The GCD will set you up with an NWU Contract Advisor who can examine your contract and provide you with expert advice. Contract advice is a free benefit available to NWU members. You can contact the GCD via email at advice@nwu.org. If you are not an NWU member, join today.

04/03/2010 - 9:33pm

On March 24 the National Writers Union submitted a brief to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in response to a request for public comments about “the costs IP infringement imposes on the U.S. economy, the threat to public health and safety posed by IP infringement, and recommendations for a U.S. government strategic plan for dealing with IP infringement.” In the past, publishers have tried to speak for writers on this issue. Now it's critical that writers speak for ourselves about who the real copyright infringers are and what we think should be done about it.

03/23/2010 - 12:17am

On March 2, the US Supreme Court reversed the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and voted 8-0 (Justice Sotomayor did not participate in the case) to uphold an $18 million settlement of a copyright infringement suit between Internet publishers and freelance writers.

02/11/2010 - 1:05am

 Dan McCrory, Recording Secretary, explains this important legislation

 The U.S. Senate will soon consider a proposed federal shield law that provides the same protections to freelance journalists as to writers employed by newspapers, magazines, broadcast outlets and online publishers. The Free Flow of Information Act, S. 448, could have implications for all media workers, legislators and government officials, opinion leaders and the general public.

02/11/2010 - 12:27am

A message to NWU members from Edward Hasbrouck (co-chair Book Division):

We saw many lapsed and former NWU members at recent events about the Google Book settlement in New York and Berkeley. Here's what one of them, a member of the Authors Guild, wrote to the court after the NWU event:

http://thepublicindex.org/docs/amended_settlement/borsook. pdf

Our work on this has been for all writers, not just our members.

Please tell your friends about what we've been doing, and let them know: If you want to make a living from writing -- books, articles, blogging, technical writing, Web content, any kind of writing in any medium, genre, or format -- the NWU wants and *needs* you back!

02/06/2010 - 12:18am

 

On February 4, the U.S. Department of Justice broadened its opposition to the proposed Google Book settlement, including key objections raised by authors. Click here for the DOJ brief.
01/29/2010 - 4:42pm

Howard Zinn, historian, activist, and a member of the National Writers Union and the Boston Chapter for almost 20 years, died on January 27, 2010. But his life and writing will inspire grassroots activists for many future generations.

01/29/2010 - 4:27pm

New York City - January 28: The NWU's objections to the revised Google Books settlement proposal were filed with the U.S. District court today by our pro bono counsel from the Fordham University Law School.

01/27/2010 - 12:59pm

 At 10:00 PST/1:00 EST, Apple is unveiling its long-awaited somewhat mysterious new reader (code name: tablet). This isn’t just a new techie gadget, but a big story for writers.  In addition to the new reader, Apple is coming up with a new business model.  Unlike Amazon’s fixed low book prices, Apple is allowing publishers discretion and book prices are expected to be higher.  The split will favor publishers: Amazon splits revenue 50/50 with publishers, Apple’s model is expected to be 30/70. This sounds good, but it may not translate into higher royalties.  What else is new? 

 
Here are a couple of links about this subject.  The WSJ is a preview (they’ve recently started charging for content), but it explains the model pretty well, so if you are interested I recommend reading the full article (the comments attached to the preview are free):
 
Back to Amazon’s e-books: Publishers have been giving away some authors’ e-books as a free download on Kindle. The other day, the New York Times ran an article (With Kindle, the Best Sellers Don’t Need to Sell) about the impact on writers when their books are being given away for free as e-books. It tackles the question of whether or not writers are benefiting from their books being given away for free.  While at first blush we would disagree, it really is a lot more complex of an issue.  Some writers are seeing a bounce in sales of their newer books when their older ones are being given away as free e-books.
 
Please join us in talking about these issues.
 
12/28/2009 - 8:00pm

If you've ever written anything that might be in the collection of a major library—not just books—you might be affected by the proposed settlement of the Google Book Search ("GBS") copyright infringement lawsuit.

 
To help inform NWU members and other writers, the NWU has posted a new set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the revised Google Book Search settlement proposal and the choices all authors need to make by the new deadline of January 28, 2010.  This also includes a sample letter writers can use if they want to opt out of the proposed settlement.  This document (FAQ) is on the Google Settlement page of the website. 
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