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

12/05/2014 - 9:56am

Boston:
The Boston Chapter has worked out an agreement with Porter Square Books in Cambridge—one of the Boston area's leading independent bookstores—to collaborate on a quarterly reading that features an NWU writer. The series kicked off Monday, November 17, with chapter co-chair Charles Coe reading from his new novella, Spin Cycles, the story of a homeless man on the streets of Boston and his daily struggle for survival. Spin Cycles is part of the "Open Door" series by publisher Gemma Media, which publishes fiction on adult themes that are written at a third- to fifth-grade reading comprehension level. The series is aimed at "new readers." such as individuals in English as a Second Language programs and newly literate English speakers.

Tucson:
Greg Evans did a presentation about Amazon's Kindle KDP Select program at the Tucson Unit's monthly reading and open mic event in mid-November. The focus was the problematic contractual conditions of Kindle’s Direct and Select programs. A summary of the presentation can be found at NWU-Book Yahoo Group under the "A few notes on Kindle Direct and Select Contract Language."

National:
Attending the National Executive Board meeting in NYC, Gordon joined the organization’s other elected leaders on a visit to the Ralph Fasanella exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum. He also caught a Soviet-era opera at the Met:

http://www.peoplesworld.org/hurry-hurry-two-great-events-at-lincoln-center-nyc/

Ursula LeGuin:
Member Ursula LeGuin gets a loving appreciation in People's World:

http://www.peoplesworld.org/ursula-leguin-says-up-with-fantasy-down-with-capitalism/

Writers Rights:
This article concerns freedom of speech issues that directly affect our profession and our members. NWU national recently took a strong stand on this: http://www.peoplesworld.org/making-new-victims-out-of-revictimization/
Feel free to circulate it widely.  —Eric Arthur
 
Opportunities:
The Health and Environment Funders Network has created the new position of program director to develop webinars, plan events, write and shepherd social media as it relates to environmental health and justice. Apply only if you have five years of experience in one of those two area. A strong enough candidate may be able to work from home, rather than in the organization’s Silver Spring, MD, offices. See the DC Chapter website (nwu-dc.org) for more details and links.
 
Call to NWU Science Writers:
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) will be heading the American Association for the Advancement of Science beginning in February, and wants to expand the organization’s communication, which is currently "print-centric." NWU science writers might be able to help him with that. If you’re interested in meeting with him or in otherwise impressing him with your smarts, contact Ann Hoffman, annfromdc@aol.com.
 
PhotoSoCal members attend an event for Lillian's Last Affair by Sue Katz, at end of table with arm around Sarah Forth's shoulder. Left of Katz, Marilyn Grunwald, right of Sarah, Joe Maizlish and Eric A. Gordon, with other attendees at the reading.

 

 

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12/05/2014 - 9:42am

One of the most vital things the GCD (NWU Grievance and Contract Division) does is review contracts and advise members on terms. But we don’t tell members what to do. We expect members to become proactive after reading the NWU Guide to Book Contracts and learning why terms are good or bad. For instance, a writer should never, ever assign his or her copyright to a publisher! Negotiating changes in contract language in the writer’s favor is challenging, but it’s also essential if writers want to protect their rights and make more money.

Members of the GCD give contract workshops at the NWU offices, and other writer or academic conferences. We’d like to make them available to all members via webinars, and we’re rolling out our first one on e-books in early 2015. A chapter can also sponsor a contract workshop for its members via Skype. While we can give all-day or half-day workshops in person, 60-to-90-minute sessions are best via video conference.

First we need to know what topics interest members. For instance, I’ve given an hour-long workshop on copyrights, and how to prevent digital piracy for our New York chapter. Other potential topics might be academic contracts; why warranties and indemnification are important; and/or strategies for negotiating better contract terms.

Want to host a contract workshop? Contact me at sednyc@rcn.com, and check out the latest GCD semi-annual report for January-June 2014 at tinyurl.com/qcx264k.

Susan E. Davis

 


 

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12/04/2014 - 6:06pm

(Ctd. from newsletter...)

And, all things considered, that still seemed pretty exciting.

During the term, I completed my assignments for the course (see my blog for the course), and embraced Twitter, which later empowered me to take the lead on social media innovation for several publications and organizations, including the NWU.

After the course, imagine my surprise when the course organizers asked me my preferred airport for departure to Alexandria, Egypt! In my five-day tour of the city, I networked with other journalists and heard a famous Egyptian writer speak. I also enjoyed the opportunity to dialogue with journalists from around the world, including an Iraqi with whom I still stay in touch. (He secured a visa and now lives in the United States.)

Throughout our stay, we feasted on seafood from the Mediterranean; talked about our own subjectivities; and explored Alexandria’s back streets. We were issued a backstage pass to the beautiful city locals affectionately call “Alex” only a year before Egypt erupted in violence during the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.

A highlight of the trip was our visit to the great Alexandria Library (pictured above), one of the oldest in the world and a symbol of freedom of information and scholarship in the Arab world. Read my take on the library here.

Although that part of the world has changed dramatically in the last five years, my newly acquired social media skills, lifelong friendships, and glimpse of a multi-faceted Muslim world will stay with me forever. And the experience underscored my inherent connection—as a writer and a journalist—to other people and cultures around the globe.

Photo: Alexandira Library. Credit: Creative Commons


 

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12/04/2014 - 5:56pm

By Susan E. Davis

Transgender pioneer and global icon, Leslie Feinberg died at home with the love of her life, Minnie Bruce Pratt, in Syracuse, NY, on Nov. 15. Feinberg had endured a long illness with multiple tick-borne co-infections, including Lyme disease, but the author, in her signature wit, attributed her catastrophic health crisis to “bigotry, prejudice and lack of science.”

During her 65 years, Feinberg profoundly influenced the national and international movement for Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) liberation, particularly through her groundbreaking novel Stone Butch Blues. Released in 1993, it sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and was translated into seven languages, including Chinese and Hebrew, with royalties donated to ASWAT Palestinian Gay Women (www.aswatgroup.org/en).

“Feinberg was the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of ‘transgender liberation,’ and her work impacted popular culture, academic research, and political organizing,” Pratt wrote in the Nov. 17 Advocate. A poet and professor, she was Feinberg’s spouse of 22 years.

An anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, revolutionary communist, Feinberg was a proud member for many years of the NWU and Pride at Work, an AFL-CIO constituency group. A member of Workers World Party (WWP), which she discovered at a demonstration for Palestinian self-determination in the early 1970s, Feinberg participated in hundreds of anti-war, pro-labor, anti-racist and pro-choice demonstrations. One of her last protests was in defense of CeCe McDonald, a transwoman sentenced to jail in 2012 for defending herself against a bigoted attacker.

Feinberg began writing in 1974 as a WWP journalist, editing the political prisoner page for 15 years and becoming a managing editor in 1995. She wrote two nonfiction books, Transgender Warriors: Making History and Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue, as well as a second novel, Drag King Dreams. From 2004-2008, her 120-part WWP series, Lavender & Red, explored the links between socialism and LGBTQ history. The book, Rainbow Solidarity in Defense of Cuba, was excerpted from that series.

Leslie was my comrade and my role model in being an up-front communist. From some obituaries I’ve read, it’s obvious that she educated, inspired and dared many progressive people to see commonalities among oppressions, and to be bold in fighting for social justice and economic equality. Pratt said that Feinberg’s last words were, “Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”

Leslie Feinberg, live like her!

Susan E. Davis, an NWU member since 1987, is the author of four nonfiction books and a self-published novel; she’s NWU’s National Contract Advisor and co-chair of the Book Division.

 


 

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12/04/2014 - 5:54pm

1. Use Who Pays Writers - report your rates so other writers can have better information about payment: whopayswriters.com 

2. Always ask for more. When negotiating your rate, ask for what you want. Even just a little bit more. Nobody's going to give you more money or better terms unless you ask.

3. Know yourself. Are you a writer who has another job and just writes sometimes for 'fun'? Do you have other people who rely on you for financial support? Do you do well with multiple clients and constant hustle, or do you prefer the security of a steady paycheck? Are you an extrovert or an introvert? An expert or a generalist? All these things matter to your career. Know your preferences and limits, and plan your career in a way that will play to your strengths but still challenge you. 

4. Talk to each other "IRL." The internet is great, but real power comes from people talking with each other and sharing their experiences, then building on those experiences and relationships to take action. 

5. Read. Go beyond your own echo chamber. Read critically and enthusiastically. Read everything, everyone, always. 

Photo: Left to Right - Manjula Martin, David Hill (NWU J-Div Co-chair), and Ari Paul (lecturer at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs) at a recent NWU event.


 

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12/04/2014 - 12:35am

“THIS ENDS TODAY!”

There really are no words to describe the anger, frustration, and rage at the two grand jury decisions in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY. Grand juries, which indict 99 out of 100 times and only need to establish probable cause, have failed to indict the cop who shot and killed unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown from 150 feet away with his hands in the air, or the cop who choked Eric Garner to death, a young father of four, also with his hands in the air, for selling loose cigarettes. The murder of Eric Garner, ruled a homicide by the coroner, was caught on camera!

The fact that one horror unfolded in suburban Ferguson, MO and the other in New York City reflects how racist police brutality has become the norm, that black lives are cheap, not just to the police, but to prosecutors and many who serve on the grand juries.

In 2013, there were 461 “justifiable homicides” by police, the highest number in more than two decades. Since Eric Garner was killed in July and Mike Brown in August, a partial list of those killed covers Brooklyn, LA, St. Louis, and 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, OH. In the past two years, the NYPD killed teenager Rahmarley Graham in the Bronx, and Shantel Davis, Kimani Williams, and Kyam Livingston in Brooklyn. Not a single cop has been charged with a crime. And of course, there was Trayvon Martin.

Recently, I attended the 2nd World Human Rights Forum with the International Federation of Journalists. Our delegation held three panels on impunity against journalists. I talked about the brutal murders of freelancers Foley and Sotloff in Syria, the bugging of the AP Washington bureau phones and the case of NY Times reporter James Risen, facing jail in a federal leak investigation, even though he is not part of a criminal investigation.

I also said that I couldn’t talk about impunity and human rights without talking about the Michael Brown decision and the rebellion that erupted in its wake. When I said, “Our union stands with all the victims of racist police terror,” the room of international journalists burst into applause.

The struggle against racism, from the abolitionists to the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, has always brought out the best in us. And it has been a tide that raised all boats. While racism hits black people first and hardest, it is an attack on all of us, and must be ended by all of us, together. I urge every NWU member to engage your colleagues, friends and family on this vital issue. And I urge every Chapter to reach out and join rallies and marches going on across the country, especially the national march on Washington, DC called for Saturday, December 13. We will be a stronger union for it.

In Solidarity,

Larry Goldbetter

National Writers Union, President


 

 

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12/03/2014 - 7:52pm
 
By Edward Hasbrouck
 

Readers, like writers, have been caught in the middle of a feud over e-book distribution terms and pricing between the Hachette book publishing company and Amazon.com.  On Nov. 13, the two announced they had reached a settlement. But the terms were not disclosed, and there's been nary a word about its implications for readers and writers.

If you suspect that this has been a turf war between big companies, you're right. And if you also suspect the interests of individuals – readers as well as writers – have gotten lost in the shuffle, right again. Both Amazon and various publishers tried to enlist writers in their dispute. But neither side is serving readers' interest in lower-priced e-books or treating writers fairly.

Many publishers of print books have deals with Amazon to license e-book editions of their entire older “backlists” of printed books. Amazon makes no attempt to verify whether print publishers actually hold e-book rights to these works, much less what percentage is supposed to be paid to authors. In many cases, the rights to license those e-books belong to authors, not publishers.  The writers should be able to negotiate their own deals with Amazon or other distributors of electronic versions of their books. However, that means writers might be competing with bootleg editions issued by publishers of their print books.

This may sound complicated, legalistic, and irrelevant to the reading public.  In practice, it may greatly impact both the prices readers pay for e-books and the earnings of authors. Amazon offers self-published authors 70% of the e-book list price in certain price ranges.  For example, if a reader pays Amazon $5.99 for a self-published e-book, Amazon keeps $1.79 and passes on $4.20 to the author.

For the same $5.99 e-book licensed to Amazon by a print publisher, Amazon keeps the same $1.79 and passes $4.20 on to the publisher.  Amazon tells readers in its terms of service that e-books are licensed, not sold   But almost all print publishers treat e-book licensing revenue as “sales," rather than licensing of a subsidiary right. Instead of the author receiving $4.20 (or even 50% of revenues usually due to the author of a licensed work), most publishers keep $3.78 and pay the writer the same 42 cents they earn from the sale of a printed book (10%).

Authors should receive a larger share of e-book revenues than of print book sales. The publisher of printed books incurs costs to produce, warehouse and ship the books.  Publishing an e-book version of a print book costs next to nothing.

When authors control their e-book rights, they can set lower prices than print publishers would.  At the same time, when authors earn a higher percentage of e-book revenues from self-published e-books, or e-books for which they are properly paid based on subsidiary rights licensing, that leads to lower prices for readers and higher earnings for authors.

If Hachette and other publishers really wanted to serve writers, they would:

1.  Withdraw e-book editions they have issued for print books whose rights belong to their authors;
2.  Pay authors of backlist e-books at least the 50% share of revenues due them for standard subsidiary rights licensing; and
3.  Pay authors for e-book revenues publishers have previously collected in violation of the authors’ rights.

If Amazon wants to show that it supports writers, it would:

  • Verify who holds the rights to backlist books offered in electronic form and deal only with bona fide holders of e-book rights;
  • Pay writers directly their share of e-book revenues; and
  • Provide authors with the same reporting on sales and revenues that it provides publishers.

Edward Hasbrouck, the co-chair of the Book Division of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, is the author of the Practical Nomad series of travel books.


 

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12/03/2014 - 7:49pm

Whereas at its 36th Constitutional Convention the UAW resolved:

“We must win justice for our brothers and sisters around the world, if we
are to win justice for American workers,” and

“We must change the behavior and hold accountable employers that cast basic
labor standards aside and deny workers their rights, regardless of where
their headquarters are located, to ensure that everyone who works for the
same employer enjoys job security, a voice at work and a living wage” and

“We will engage in struggles for human and labor rights around the world,”

And
Whereas many hundreds of Colombian GM workers have witnessed their basic
labor standards rights cast aside, resulting in serious workplace injuries
and subsequent mass dismissals,

And
Whereas the injured workers’ association ASOTRECOL, along with the union,
SINTRAIME are fighting for justice for the injured and dismissed workers,
and have appealed for support and solidarity from the UAW,

And
Whereas UAW rank and file members have responded to that appeal with over
$10,000 of plant gate collections, local union donations and other acts of
solidarity,

Be it resolved that the UAW:

Hold GM accountable and change its behavior regarding its callous disregard
for the rights of its Colombian workers,

Demand that GM re-initiate the mediation with ASOTRECOL begun in 2012 with
the intent of reaching a fair and final settlement,

Use its website and publications to publicize the heroic struggle of the
Colombian GM workers and encourage local unions to engage in acts of
solidarity to support them in their fight for job security, a voice at work
and a living wage.


 

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12/03/2014 - 7:42pm

 

November 16, 2014

Resolution by the National Executive Board of the National Writers Union to sign the Call to Action (initiated before the bill was signed into law) which defends the right of free speech for Mumia Abu-Jamal and all prisoners in the state of Pennsylvania as delineated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and in the Pennsylvania Constitution

Whereas, every person in the United States is guaranteed the right to free speech, which may not be abridged for any reason:

Whereas, the Revictimization Relief Act (HB 2533/SB 508), signed into law by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett on Oct. 21, seeks to silence all Pennsylvania prisoners if, by exercising their right to free speech, they allegedly cause “mental anguish to their victims”;

Whereas, the act is clearly unconstitutional and is being challenged by legal experts from the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Center for Constitutional Rights;

Whereas, as noted in the Call: “This legislation emerged as a politically charged response on the part of the Fraternal Order of Police and its political allies, because they failed to stop Pennsylvania prisoner and radio journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal from delivering his October 5, 2014, commencement address at Goddard College in Vermont, from where Abu-Jamal earned his BA in 1996 while on death row. Students at Goddard collectively chose Abu-Jamal as their commencement speaker and the administration supported the invitation. In this case, this law would deny the school the right to hear from its alum, Abu-Jamal.”

Whereas, the National Writers Union believes in the right of all people and members of all communities, especially those that are oppressed, including prisoners, to practice journalism and to write and express themselves in their own words, in addition to having their stories told by outsiders;

Whereas, Mumia Abu-Jamal, known as “the voice of the voiceless,” was invited to become an honorary member of the National Writers Union in 1995 when the state of Pennsylvania first tired to put him to death, and has since received the support of the union over the years as an exemplary broadcast journalist and author who tells the truth about the prison-industrial complex from behind the walls;

Therefore, be it resolved, that the National Executive Board of the National Writers Union continues that tradition of social activism and signs the Call to Action (attached) which defends the right of free speech for Mumia Abu-Jamal and all prisoners in the state of Pennsylvania as delineated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and in the Pennsylvania Constitution;

Further, be it resolved, as stated in the Call: “We oppose and protest Pennsylvania’s abuse of state power and its trampling of the fundamental human rights of all — of students to hear Abu-Jamal, of teachers and journalists to access perspectives of the imprisoned, and, by extension, of everyone who deserves the free flow of information in society.”

Respectfully submitted by:

Irving Jones, Philadelphia Chapter
Susan E. Davis, NY Chapter
Janet Mayes, NY Chapter
Ellen Cohen, NY Chapter
Eleanor Bader, NY Chapter
Edward Hasbrouck, San Francisco Chapter 
 
 

 

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10/31/2014 - 9:35am
NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL WRITERS UNION
 
In mid-October, NWU’s New York chapter partnered with Metro NY Labor Communications Council to offer the panel discussion, The Attacks on Labor in the Courts and Legislatures. An overflow crowd heard Stanley Aronowitz (CUNY), Frank Deale (CUNY Law School), Henry Garrido (AFSCME) and Carol Pittman (NYSNA, shown) speak and also to take part in the lively discussion that followed on how to put labor into a fighting, winning stance. Also in October, four New York chapter members spent a rewarding evening calling members to ask them what they like about the union; what else the union can do for them; and what they’re willing to do to help build the union. Members who placed the calls found a great deal of support for the NWU, along with several proposals that could help attract new members. [Photo: Tim Sheard]
 
KUDOS!
 
New DC Chapter member Calvin Zon has just published, Divided We Fall: The Confederacy's Collapse From Within, A State-by-State Account. It’s available on Amazon in paperback ($13.46), or as an eBook ($9.99). Divided makes the case that Southerners’ opposition to the Confederacy led to its downfall.
 
Sue Davis’s article about the closure of abortion clinics, “Texas Judges Curtail Abortion Rights,” ran in the October 16 issue of Workers World (read it online here). 
 
Rob Ramer, Jackie Mosio, Marly Cornell and Paul Zerby staffed the NWU Twin Cities’ table at the 2014 Book Festival, where about 50 people signed up to receive more information on the NWU/the TC Chapter. Several people expressed interest in a contract advice workshop. 
 
Jim Patterson had a number of articles on marriage equality published:

"Roll over, Jesse: Gay marriage ushers in new era in the state of ‘Senator Hate’" via LGBTQ Nation. Or read the article here on the Bilerico Project.

 
"One more step on the long road to equality" via the Brattleboro Reformer.
 
Eric Arthur published a film review:

"In "The Decent One," Heinrich Himmler: Dedicated family man" via People's World.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, elected Margie Burns, NWU Washington, DC, chair to the adjunct faculty advisory committee.
 
Jerome Richard's short story "My Son, The Female Impersonator" was reprinted in the Fall 2014 East Coast Literary Review.
 
 

 

 

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Union News

03/11/2011 - 8:45am

NWU member Ted Fiskevold and Mark Froemke from the Twin Cities, are going On the Road Through the Working Family Class Warfare Zones of the Midwest.  This union travelblog will take you to the class war battlefields of Madison, Indianapolis, Columbus and back to Madison, with stories and photos.  If you like what you read and see, pass the link on to your union, activist, and political friends and their blogs, Facebooks and online newsletters.

 

You can join them by clicking: http://midwestuniontravel.wordpress.com/. Also go to  WeAreWisconsin.org for more information.

03/10/2011 - 11:01pm

Kathleen McElroy


National Writers Union/ UAW Local 1981

Folks from outside Wisconsin are contacting me and asking how to help with the battle to save collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin.

YOU CAN PROVIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT

People of generally modest means, including many college students, are continuing the occupation of the Capitol and the daily picketing in resistance to the Governor's plans. Most teachers have had to have chosen to return to their classrooms, but many other union members remain, people from private sector unions and public unions including police and firefighters. There are many private citizens, often seniors. Those remaining in the capitol and on the picket lines need food, water, transportation and housing. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is coordinating much of that support. No matter how small, financial support is welcome:

ONLINE: The AFL-CIO is accepting donations online through PayPal or any major credit card. Please go
to http://wisaflcio.org for the link.

CHECKS can be made payable to the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Defense Fund, 6333 W. Blue Mound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53213 (Please indicate the purpose, e.g. "Capitol protests" or "Madison rally", on your check.)

SEND FOOD AND WATER DIRECTLY TO THE PROTESTERS

These two close-by shops will supply food and water to those in the Capitol or on the picket line:

03/10/2011 - 10:56pm

Originally called International Working Women's Day, March 8 is celebrated the world over. It was established in 1911 (the same year as the Triangle Fire happened) by European and America socialists, and became forever identified with the activism and tragedy of the women garment workers.

Nearly 150 sweatshop workers, mostly Jewish and Italian immigrant women, died 100 years ago in the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Most of the deaths occurred among those working on the crowded 9th floor where the bulk of the sewing machines were located. People on the other floors were told of the fire and escaped outside, but for long crucial minutes, no one let the seamstresses know. By the time they became aware of the smoke, a guard had locked one of the two doors, a routine "anti-theft" action - i.e. act of owner greed - that cost many women their lives.

02/25/2011 - 3:57pm

The Controversial Lahore With Love Now Available on Amazon.com

NEW YORK CITY, Feb. 22, 2011 -- Ten months after Syracuse University Press pulled the critically acclaimed Lahore With Love: Growing Up Girlfriends Pakistani-Style from the shelves, Dr. Fawzia Afzal-Khan has self-published her fictionalized memoir, making it available to the public through Amazon.com.

Originally published in April 2010 by Syracuse University Press, Lahore With Love received glowing reviews in Booklist, FeministReview.org, and Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies. Harvard University's Henry Louis Gates Jr. called it  "a tale that is marvelously compelling and endlessly entertaining, at once poignantly personal and richly political." Acclaimed Egyptian novelist and women's and human rights activist, Nawal el Saadawi writes, "Afzal-Khan's is a gifted dissident voice and I hope many people will read her beautiful memoir which challenges stereotypes, universal fanatic fundamentalism, and religious, political, and sexual taboos."

02/21/2011 - 1:44pm

 

In Wisconsin, tens of thousands of workers, teachers and students are fighting Gov. Scott Walker's plan to strip 200,000 public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Just as Reagan’s wholesale firing
of striking Air Traffic Controllers in the ‘80’s led to decades of attacks on private sector unions, what we are seeing in Wisconsin is PATCO II: The Public Sector. If Walker wins, the labor movement can look forward to even more setbacks for a long time to come.

02/18/2011 - 2:28pm

Dear Members:

The IFJ will no longer issue paper press passes, but is upgrading to a photo ID card. This upgrade by the IFJ office has resulted in a substantial cost increase to NWU and will result in an increase in our workload and price as well.

As we incorporate the new required changes, we will place all international press pass applications on hold. We will advise you of the new price and any other requirements for the international pass as soon as we have them.

The NWU press pass for use within the United States is still available.

Thank you for your patience. We look forward to issuing the new IFJ press passes as soon as possible.



In solidarity,
NWU

02/17/2011 - 4:37pm

NWU is starting a new service, replacing the old Job Hotline with Hire A Union Writer, a space where members can market themselves for work as a writer with a link to their blog, website or resume.

While we don’t expect it to be an overnight hit as a hiring hall, it can be a place where other unions and progressive organizations can find union writers. Over time, we will try to promote the site to other potential employers. Also, some BizTech writers and others are eligible for unemployment insurance which they may find easier to collect if they are registered as available for work with their union.

On the Members Only section of the website, you will find a short form to fill out, including room for a 50-word description of the kind of writing you do and your experience. That will go to our webmaster who will post it on the public Hire A Union Writer page along with the link of your choice.

We especially want to thank veteran member/activist Bruce Hartford, who helped to establish the original Job Hotline and who suggested this new service for our members. Credit goes as well to the members who have urged us to revive the Job Hotline. When members speak, we listen.

 

02/15/2011 - 6:07pm

Cartoon by Ted Rall - Waiting for the Phone to Ring
Friday, February 11, 2011 - (C) 2011 Ted Rall, Distributed by Universal Uclick - AAEC Ref Num: 95663

The National Writers Union is launching a campaign to raise the pay scale for online content writers. If there was any doubt as to the need for such a campaign, look no further than the recent purchase of the Huffington Post by AOL for a cool $315 million.

In an excellent Op-Ed piece in the LA Times (2/9) Tim Rutten writes, “To grasp [HuffPo’s] business model, though, you need to picture a galley rowed by slaves and commanded by pirates Given the fact that its founder, Huffington, reportedly will walk away from this acquisition with a personal profit of as much as $100 million, it makes all the Post's raging against Wall Street plutocrats, crony capitalism and the Bush and Obama administrations' insensitivities to the middle class and the unemployed a bit much.”

02/04/2011 - 5:26pm

04 February 2011
H.E. Ahmed Shafiq
Prime Minister
Arab Republic of Egypt

Your Excellency,

On behalf of the National Writers Union, I am writing to protest the attacks by supporters of your President on journalists covering the events in Egypt.

According to our affiliate unions and press reports, we know that journalists have been the targets of violent attacks:

  • Ahmed Bajano, an Al-Arabiya correspondent, and his camera crew were attacked in Mustafa Mahmoud Square by security men in plainclothes. He suffered a concussion.
  • Al-Arabiya's Cairo office was attacked and its windows broken
  • Ahmad Abdel Hadi was seized by pro-Mubarak supporters near Tahrir Square, forced in a car, and driven away.
  • The headquarters of Al-Shorouk was attacked by plainclothes police in Cairo. Reporter Mohamed Khayal and photographer Magdi Ibrahim were injured.
  • Belgian journalist Maurice Sarfatti was beaten and arrested in central Cairo.
    • CNN's Anderson Cooper was attacked by pro-Mubarak supporters in Tahrir Square.
    • Two Associated Press correspondents were attacked covering a pro-Mubarak group.
    • Danish senior Middle East Correspondent Steffen Jensen was beaten by pro-Mubarak supporters with clubs while reporting live on the phone to Danish TV2 News from Cairo.
    • BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes had his car forced off the road in Cairo. He was then handed over to secret police agents who handcuffed, blindfolded and took him to a three hour interrogation.
    • Iceland's RUV national broadcaster, Jon Bjorgvinsson was attacked as he was filming with his crew. He was knocked to the ground, his camera destroyed.
    • Three Al Jazeera journalists were arrested by Egyptian secret police.
    • Swedish TV correspondent Bert Sundström has disappeared, while his colleague Sid Ahmed Hammouche, special envoy of Liberté newspaper was arrested.
    • One Greek photographer was stabbed in the leg by pro-Mubarak demonstrators.
    • Washington Post Cairo bureau chief Leila Fadel and photographer Linda Davidson were among more than 20 journalists arrested yesterday by the Egyptian interior ministry. They are currently in custody.

    These were the first. As the situation sharpens, we fear that many more will follow. These premeditated attacks to intimidate journalists from reporting what is happening must stop. You have apologized for these attacks and have offered to investigate. We hold your government responsible for the safety of these journalists.

    Sincerely

    Larry Goldbetter, President
    National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981
    New York, New York

02/04/2011 - 1:29pm

 

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The International Federation of Journalists is partnering with WageIndicator, a global wage survey that measures wages of over 1,500 different occupations and 400 industries in over 48 countries around the world to date.

With the participation of the IFJ and your union this year, journalists’ salaries will, for the first time, be assessed on a global scale...