NWU and the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) have agreed to a partnership that will bring NASW members into NWU and extend NWU Grievance and Contract services to a limited number of NASW members. The agreement has been approved by the national leadership of both organizations.
Under the experimental plan, NASW members can join at a special “partnership” rate, while as many as 25 others (whose cases have been vetted by the NASW Freelance Committee) will be eligible for NWU grievance or contract assistance without joining.
NASW board member and Freelance Committee co-chair Kendall Powell said that NWU’s work is “as close as it gets to collective bargaining for freelancers.” The seeds of this new partnership were planted after Nautilus, an award-winning online magazine, refused to pay its freelancers; they sought help from the NWU. Having heard of NWU’s campaign to get freelancers paid at Ebony, NYU faculty and NASW/NWU member Jessica Siegel organized 27 freelancers who were owed about $73,000. Almost all were members of NASW.
NWU was able to reach an agreement with the publisher for 100 percent of the money owed. To date, more than 60 percent of it has been paid. While the final installment is overdue, we hope to resolve this before the end of the year. That success sparked the idea for the partnership.
The trial partnership will run for one year, beginning January 1, 2019; it can be amended as we go. It could also set a pattern for partnerships with many other groups such as NABJ, ASJA, SFWA and more.