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

Grievance and Contract Committee Report to the Delegate Assembly 

October 22, 2021  Report of National Grievance and Contract Officer Paul J. MacArthur and  Grievance and Contract Committee Coordinator Barbara Mende  January 1 – September 30, 2021  Contract advisements  We advised members on 41 contracts from January – September this year. Perhaps because of the influx of Freelance Solidarity Project members, more of them were related […]

NWU Comments on Draft of “Digital Copyright Act of 2021”

The NWU has submitted comments regarding changes to the U.S. Copyright Act to Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis, who are the chair and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Our response addresses Tillis’ discussion draft of the proposed Digital Copyright Act of 2021. As we noted last year, […]

What’s Ahead in 2021 from the Copyright Office and Congress?

Writers can expect further gains in U.S. Copyright Office procedures in 2021, but we may have a fight ahead in Congress to block yet another attempt to effectively revoke copyright protection for so-called “orphan works,” including those central to some NWU members’ and other writers’ livelihoods.