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.

Follow us on ... See about Press Passes for NWU Members

Special Announcements

01/28/2014 - 12:39pm

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today announced the launch of a campaign to advocate for the safety of Ukranian journalists in the wake of an estimated 150 journalist injuries since protests began in Kiev. The IFJ has posted videos and other documented evidence of journalists' injuries and intimidation in Ukraine, including a link to this video of a December attack on journalist Tatyana Chornovol. The campaign includes safety tips for journalists as well as a suggested draft letter to the Ukrainian government (direct link to file download) urging the government to protect journalists. The IFJ urged its affiliates to fill out the letter and send it to communications@ifj.org.  

IFJ has also launched a social media campaign under the Twitter hashtag #SOS_Kiev. Find IFJ on Twitter @IFJGlobal. IFJ is asking journalists covering the protests in Ukraine to submit photos and messages to help the IFJ document the protests on the ground. Journalists can send post their photos and messages to IFJ on Facebook or to European Federation of Journalists on Facebook and use the hashtag #SOS_Kiev on Twitter.

 


 

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01/24/2014 - 12:34pm

 

On January 22, Judge George B. Daniels in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a “Preliminary Approval of the Revised Class Action Settlement” in the legal case called "In Re Literary Works in Electronic Databases Copyright Litigation."
 
This settlement grew out of class action lawsuits initiated in 2001 by the National Writers Union and two other writers’ organizations to compensate freelance writers for electronic uses of their work in print periodicals prior to the Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in Tasini v. New York Times.
 
The lead plaintiff in that case, Jonathan Tasini, was President of the NWU when the suit originated in 1995. The NWU brought this lawsuit because we believed that freelance writers, who were only paid for print publication, should be paid for electronic uses of their work. With the legal and financial backing of the United Auto Workers union (UAW), we were able to continue the fight to the Supreme Court, who ruled in our favor and established that work published in electronic media constitutes a separate use of the work, which publishers must pay for.
 
Because only the plaintiffs to the original Tasini lawsuit were compensated after that decision, follow-up class action laws suits were initiated to pay other freelance writers. After a long and contentious legal process, a revised settlement was negotiated and has received preliminary approval from the court. A fairness hearing on the settlement is scheduled for June 10.
Formal notice of the proposed settlement will be posted on our website for our members shortly. This will give Class members the opportunity to opt out of the settlement or to present objections to the settlement. The deadline for filing a request to opt out of the settlement or for filing objections is May 9, 2014.
 
The National Writers Union is pleased that under the proposed settlement the publishers that used our work without our permission or payment have agreed to pay more than what was stipulated in the first proposed settlement. We are also pleased that each author of an article or work that did not have a registered copyright will receive more compensation than originally proposed. Mostly, we are pleased that once the settlement is finally accepted by the court, money will eventually be in writers’ pockets where it rightfully belongs. We will provide detailed advice to our members about the proposed settlement.
 

For more information contact the National Writers Union: 212-254-0279

 


 

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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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Union News

05/06/2011 - 12:09pm

Situation of NWU member highlights benefit of Union Plus disaster help program

The case of At-large co-chair James Sandefur, whose family suffered losses in the recent tornadoes, highlights the benefits available to NWU members through Union Plus, a wide-ranging program for members of the UAW and AFL-CIO.

One program offers a $500 grant to any member suffering a documented financial loss as the result of a FEMA-certified natural disaster or emergency.  That program is available only to members who have participated for 12 months or more in the Union Plus credit card, mortgage or insurance program.

For more information on the disaster relief program, go to http://www.unionplus.org/money-credit/natural-disaster-relief-fund.

Remember too that Union Plus has a free prescription drug discount card for NWU members and their family members.  Go to unionplus.org and log in as a member of the UAW, then go to health benefits and download your cards.

05/03/2011 - 4:50pm

02 May 2011

Shadow of 9/11 Attacks Hangs over Journalism, Says IFJ on World Press Freedom Day

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) marks this year’s World Press Freedom Day by focusing on the legacy of the terrorist attacks on 11 September in New York and Washington ten years ago. The Federation plans to launch a major campaign - Journalism in the Shadow of Terror- to consider the impact of those terrible events and to call for a reversal of the tide of legal and official intimidation of journalism and attacks on civil liberties that has followed the events of 2001.

“The last ten years have seen an alarming erosion of press freedom as governments adopted a hard line in the fight against terror,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “There is no doubt that journalists have been among the prominent victims of a widespread assault on the democratic rights of all citizens and this has to change.”

The IFJ says that the laws introduced in the wake of the attacks of 11 September in America such as restrictions of movement and the right to investigate public authorities and to report and to publish freely have reduced the rights of journalists. The Federation is calling for a fresh debate on the new information landscape and how governments are responding to the challenge of groups such Wikileaks in exposing government secrets and the impact this has on journalism.

04/14/2011 - 4:00pm

 

 

 


NWU/UAW 1981 at the NYC May Day rally. The Union of Huffington Post Writers and Bloggers "call on journalists and bloggers to join the National Writers Union."

 

 

See http://www.facebook.com/l/60538/www.hpub.org for details."

 

04/12/2011 - 6:18pm
nwu.org

NEW YORK, NY: A class action lawsuit was filed today against The Huffington Post.com, Inc., Huffington Post owner Arianna Huffington, her co-owner, and AOL.com, Inc. alleging that thousands of writers and other content providers have been wrongly denied any compensation for the substantial value they created for the Huffington Post.  The Huffington Post was recently sold to AOL for $315 million.
 
“Arianna Huffington is pursuing the Wal-Martization of creative content and a Third World class of creative people,” said Jonathan Tasini, the lead plaintiff in the suit. “Actually, that is unfair to Wal-Mart because at least Wal-Mart pays its workers something for the value those workers create. In Arianna Huffington’s business model, economic gain is only reserved for her.  Everyone else, apparently, is expected to work for free regardless of the value they create. Greed and selfishness is the order of the day.”
 
The class action, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of a putative class of over 9,000 writers and other content providers to The Huffington Post.com states deceptive trade practices and unjust enrichment as causes of action.  The complaint requests at least $105 million in damages on behalf of The Huffington Post’s uncompensated writers and other content providers.

THE FULL COMPLAINT CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE: http://www.huffingtonpostlawsuit.com/uploads/Tasini_et_al._v._Huffington_et_al._Filed_Complaint_April_12_2011.pdf
 

03/30/2011 - 10:15am

VICTORY!!!

Quick response to USLAW's alert by 452 people helped to free the four young journalists who had been detained by Iraqi security forces following a demonstration by workers demanding respect for labor rights, reliable electricity, clean water, sanitation and jobs for the unemployed.

INTERNATIONAL LABOR SOLIDARITY WORKS!!!

03/23/2011 - 3:28pm

NEW YORK CITY:  March 23, 2011 –  "Judge Denny Chin's decision that the Google Book Settlement was 'not fair, adequate and reasonable' gives the National Writers Union even more reason to pursue other means through Congress and the courts to protect and affirm writers' rights against this sort of corporate infringement," declared Larry Goldbetter, president of the NWU, the union of freelance writers. "Because writers' copyright infringement claims against Google have yet to be resolved, the NWU calls on Google to stop scanning without permission -- now." 

Google digitized the contents of several university libraries started in 2004 without getting permission of any of the copyright holders of those books and journals.  The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers sued, claiming infringement of copyright.  After a few years, the parties agreed to settle the law suit.  The proposed settlement and an amended settlement designed to meet objections to the first agreement not only tried to resolve rights arising from the illegal copyight.  The settlement also set up a new system to permit Google to sell the books it had digitized.  The National Writers Union and many foreign governments, individual writers, other writers groups and the U.S. Justice Department objected to the amended settlement.  Judge Chin rejected the settlement on March 23.

After seven years of Google digitizing books without the consent of the copyright holders, the only point that is clear is that the efforts of three parties – Google, the Authors Guild (AG) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) – to resolve the many issues involved were totally unsuccessful and left most matters yet to be decided, added Goldbetter.   NWU hopes that any future settlement talks will include other writers' groups like the NWU in addition to the Authors Guild, which, according to the judge, may have “antagonistic interests” with at least certain other writers.  (Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., 05 CIV 8136 (DC 2011), p. 20.  "NWU looks forward to hearing from Google, AAP and AG about how they plan to broaden the negotiations to include all those who offered substantive objections to the settlement," stated Goldbetter. 

03/22/2011 - 8:25pm

New York March 22 - NWU applauds Judge Chin's decision today rejecting the Google Book Settlement as not "fair, adequate, and reasonable." Along with our co-objectors, we will continue to pursue justice for authors and the establishment of a digital Library of Congress, not Google.

See the decision here: http://thepublicindex.org/docs/amended_settlement/opinion.pdf

See some initial news coverage on the decision here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704461304576216923562033348.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/nyc-judge-concludes-google-book-settlement-not-fair-adequate-and-reasonable/2011/03/22/ABG2DuDB_story.html

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-20045967-36.html

03/22/2011 - 10:35am
Right now 50 bloggers at ArtScene and the newly formed Huffington Post Union of Bloggers and Writers (HPUB) are striking the Huffington Post for unpaid wages. The Natioinal Writers Union and others are honoring what the Newspaper Guild called, their "electronic picket lines." We urge our members and everyone reading this, not to write for HuffPo until they brought to the bargaining table.
 
We can think of no better way to launch our campaign to establish a living minimum wage for on line content writers. From HuffPo, which was bought by AOL for $315 million to Demand Media, with a December IPO that valued it at $1.5 billion, huge profits are being reaped off the unpaid or penny-a-word labor of freelance writers. This can not go on.
 

The following article by NWU member John Sandman is the first of a series to further the discussion, struggle and buzz among freelance writers and bloggers, to gather the forces needed to make this fight. We look forward to hearing from you and to your participation in this campaign.

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