Grievance and Contract Division (GCD)

The GCD is:

  • Contract Advisors (CAs) who help NWU members understand and negotiate their contracts with publishers and employers
  • Grievance Officers (GOs) who go to bat for members who have been abused or cheated by publishers or employers

We are all volunteers, writers like you who are trained to understand publishing contracts and solve problems. We also offers seminars and other educational opportunities to hone your contract skills and then apply them to helping other union members; and we can answer your questions about contracts, rights issues, and the business of writing.

Contract Advice. Have you been presented a contract and don’t know what or how to negotiate? The NWU’s nationwide network of contract advisers assists members by reviewing their contracts (in all genres) with them. Contract advice is the first step in not being stiffed and learning about what makes a fair contract.

Grievance Assistance. Is your publisher refusing to pay you? Delaying the publication of a timely work? Misreporting your royalties? The NWU’s skilled grievance officers have recovered more than $1.5 million for writers from publishers through individual and group grievances, and have represented members in non-monetary grievances as well.

Writer Alerts. The GCD posts writer alerts on the NWU website from time to time, warning writers about unscrupulous publishers. Stay away from these folks.

Contract Resource Materials. The GCD also offers a host of written how-to documents that will save you time and money. Many of these resources can be found under Contract Resources in the Members Only section. (You must be logged in to view this.) If you don’t see something you’re looking for, contact advice@nwu.org.

(Members Only) – Read Our GCD Semiannual Reports to get an idea about what other writers are facing and read case studies of other freelance writers’ challenges with contracts, compensation, payment, remuneration, and more.

Latest Division News

Lawmakers Endorse Copyright Small Claims Court

Currently the only way to obtain damages for copyright infringement is a full-fledged lawsuit in Federal court, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars at best, and more often hundreds of thousands in a worst-case scenario. Hence there’s a reason for the phrase: “Make a Federal case out of it.”  That’s why key members […]

2016 Year in Review

All in all, it was a very busy year at NWU and we’re better off for it. The elections aside, we still have many challenges ahead, the main one being how to grow, be more active, and better serve our members while, at the same time, cutting back on spending. This is a perpetual riddle […]

French Law on “Out of Commerce” Books Struck Down

Acting on a lawsuit brought by French freelance authors and supported by the NWU, the European Union’s  Court of Justice has ruled that the French law permitting  distribution of digital copies of books deemed “out of commerce,” without the consent of the authors, violates their rights and is invalid. We think the court was correct […]