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

02/12/2015 - 8:53pm

By: Ann Hoffman
Republicans in Congress are seeking to invoke the rarely-used Congressional Review Act to overturn a rule of the National Labor Relations Board designed to speed union representation elections.  The Review Act is one of the few elements of the 1996 Newt Gingrich "Contract with America" that is still in effect.  It permits Congress to overturn federal agency regulations that they don't like.  Reversal of a rule is subject to special expedited procedures and requires passage by a simple majority of both House and Senate - but also the signature of the President.
An indication of the anti-union, anti-worker motivations of those invoking the Review Act is the fact that the only previous effort that passed both Houses (and was signed by President George W. Bush) was the overturning of a rule to protect workers from ergonomic injuries on the job.  Any move to overturn the NLRB election rule is likely to be vetoed by President Obama.
Public sector unions have been attacked head-on this week by the newly-elected Republican Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner.  The Governor, a former private equity manager, issued an Executive Order barring state workers from having to pay "fair share" fees to support collective bargaining if they choose not to join the unions that negotiate and enforce their contracts.
The Illinois effort, which could be rejected by the Democratic-controlled state legislature, is in line with other anti-union, anti-worker moves in the upper Midwest, formerly a heavily unionized part of the U.S.  Such moves are designed to weaken unions permanently and strengthen unfettered capitalism.

02/05/2015 - 6:57pm

Member Lizette Wanzer was awarded two writing residencies last year: one at
Playa Summer Lake (OR), and the other at the Horned Dorset Colony (NY).  On
tap for 2015 is Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow (Arkansas), and she has
received a generous fellowship to the Virginia Center for Creative Arts for
Spring 2015. 

She was a 2014 San Francisco Foundation Literary Award
Nominee.  Her essay, "Twisted," was accepted at the upcoming Far West
Popular Culture Association
Conference.  She will present the paper in
February 2015 in Las Vegas.  Lizette is a member of the SF Writers' Grotto
and serves as Parliamentarian for the Bay Area chapter of the National
Writers' Union.  She will complete both a sudden fiction and an essay
collection this year.

02/04/2015 - 8:59pm

By: Pamela Johnson

Researching her latest novel, The Boston Girl, Anita Diamant poured over fashion photographs from the early 1900’s: She surveyed image after image of women in trippingly long dresses, cinched tightly at the waist. They helped the author understand the restrictive world of her protagonist, Addie Baum, who grew up in an era when women were expected to marry, become mothers, and then putter around the house. But Addie was part of a world of change; it included looser, shorter dresses (and even pants!), enabling her to take bigger strides into the world.

At the book’s open, Addie is 85 and telling the story of her girlhood in Boston to a 22-year-old granddaughter. The voice feels like a breezy oral history.

Diamant’s foundational stone for the novel came from a place roughly 40 miles northeast of Boston along the coast.

“I discovered a placed called Rockport Lodge, which is in Rockport, Massachusetts, where I vacation,” she says. “It was founded in 1906—a kind of Fresh Air fund vacation place for girls with very limited resources. It was part of the progressive movement era programming for girls who were young, not married and working.”

‘Slowly Addie became the voice of the book, the throughline, and I gave the book to her.’

For a week every summer, girls enjoyed days away from family and arduous work lives to bask in each other’s company, stay up late, or hike a trail.

“I created characters who went to the lodge,” says Diamant, “and as is my wont, a group of friends emerges. The bunch Addie falls in with is interdenominational, historically accurate to the North End of the time, with Italians and Jews and some Irish girls. Slowly Addie became the voice of the book, the through-line and I gave the book to her.”

And to Boston, as well.

To meet The Boston Girl is to meet the city she grew up in, peering just over her shoulder. Milestones of her tale are set in and around Beantown, from Paul Revere Pottery, to the famous Swan Boats in the Garden, to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. As Addie comes of age, the women’s movement gathers force, spilling out of brownstones and tenements and into the work world, from the garment industry to libraries to secretarial jobs, and into post-secondary education at Simmons College and the Portia Law School for Women.

‘Addie spends a short chapter of her life there, and it opens up the world to her.’

Boston, it should be noted, is Diamant’s adopted city. Her earliest roots were set down in Newark, New Jersey, and then at 12, her family migrated west to Denver. But her undergraduate and graduate years took her east again, first to St. Louis, and then to Binghamton, New York, and finally Boston, where she took a job as a journalist 40 years ago.

“The early Boston newspaper scene was incredibly vibrant,” Diamant says, referring to her research. “The Boston Transcript was one such place. Addie spends a short chapter of her life there, and it opens up the world to her.

“My first real job [at the Boston Phoenix] was answering the phone for an editor, writing stories and handing them in over the transom… but the differences between Addie’s experience in a newsroom and mine are vast. I didn’t have to put up with the danger posed by her colleagues; the world changed so profoundly between 1921 and 1980,” Diamant says.

About 35 years ago, she sought a new challenge and added long-form, non-fiction work to journalism, and eventually wrote six guides to contemporary Jewish life, from birth to death and mourning.  In the mid-90s, however, she decided to try writing fiction and wrote the novel that has become her most popular work, so far: The Red Tent (1997), a first-person story told by the Bible’s Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph, who is mentioned only briefly in Genesis, but becomes fully fleshed out in Diamant’s work. The title refers to the place where women of Jacob's tribe go while menstruating or giving birth; it’s also where they find mutual support and encouragement from their mothers, sisters and aunts—a theme of Diamant’s books.

“When people say, ‘I read your book,’ I know which one they mean. But I let them know, I’ve written some other fiction, too.”

“I was very lucky,” Diamant recalls of her New York Times bestselling first novel. Its reception and residuals made it such that, “I could continue to write fiction.” Optioned on and off for years, Red Tent was finally made into a Lifetime TV movie and shown in December 2014.

“When people say, ‘I read your book,’ I know which one they mean,” she says, adding, “I will always be grateful for the success of it.” But she lets fans know, “I’ve written some other fiction, too.” To date, she’s the author of more than a dozen books.

Recently Diamant was set to travel to support The Boston Girl, with trips to Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Dallas, Florida and Phoenix on tap. She also scheduled some breaks in between to go home and recharge.

“People come to readings and apologize for asking me to sign five books, but I’m so grateful to them.  A book doesn’t come to life until there are readers,” she says, adding, “That means everything to me.”

‘Both of my parents were union members:  It’s in my DNA to be in a union.’

Diamant says that rewriting helps her refine the voices and smooth out a novel’s plot; feedback from her writing group also helps toggle the words into place. “The three of us have been together for a long time,” she says. “We meet on occasion … when we need each other. These are people I trust completely; I take what they say very close to heart.”

The author joined the NWU 10 or 15 year ago. “Both of my parents were union members,” she remembers. “My father was a typographer, and my mother was in the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU). It’s sort of in my DNA to be a union member. Writers need to do whatever we can to work together to better our lot. No one else is going to do it for us.”

Anita Diamant photo courtesy: Gretje Fergeson


02/04/2015 - 8:36pm

By NWU President Larry Goldbetter

NEB Follow-up

As discussed during our last NEB meeting, we’re establishing an education committee. Fernando Gapasin (chair - OR) and Helena Worthen and Joe Berry (Bay Area) will begin this effort. Fernando, Helena and Joe have all previously worked together in labor education. They’ll explore an internal education plan for chapter chairs and members, which will include organizing, NWU history, policies and issues. We’ll soon call a meeting of the broader committee of volunteers; please let me know if you’re interested.

Fund Raising and NWUSO

Recently I met with Esther Cohen and Terry Schwadron about NWUSO, our 501(c)(3). Over the past year we’ve had some success gaining small grants to assist in the Workers Write project, but haven’t had luck raising funds for other educational projects. For one thing, it’s difficult to get backing for such union projects as the webinars or updating the Freelancers’ Guide

Calvin Ramsey, one of our NY members, is a children’s book author; he’s holding an April luncheon and awards presentation for 4th-6th graders in our conference room. Calvin is currently seeking commercial sponsors to underwrite the event. We’ve agreed to have any donations made to the NWUSO, which thereby makes them tax deductible. NWUSO will receive a portion of these funds as an administrative fee.

Over the next six months, Esther and I will approach the NY State Legislature, the NY City Council, the NY Council on the Arts, and other potential funding sources. We’re also considering bringing younger leadership on board to play a role in this effort. I contacted our Level 4 and 5 members to ask for contributions to the webinar project. To date, we’ve received $200. Out of this, we’ll create a fundraising committee. If you’re interested in serving on it, please contact me.


02/04/2015 - 7:45pm

By Barbara Mende

Copyrights are important to a writer’s success, but so is money. Sometimes work for hire (WFH) is a great way to earn money.

Freelancers can make good incomes writing promotional materials, product manuals, grants, or books in series (think Dummies). Without owning the copyrights they can’t sell the movie or smartphone app rights, but how much are the rights to Assembling Your EZ-Burn Oven worth?

The key is to get paid enough so that you won’t miss those movie rights. And commercial clients, who are likely to be more profitable than conventional publishers, often pay better. If a magazine commissions a work-for-hire article, or a contract clause states that the work doesn’t qualify as work for hire under the Copyright Act—there are legal limitations, but they’re easily circumvented—and the writer has to surrender all rights, that is a red flag.

Work-for-hire writers have other concerns. If you want to use portions of your work on your website, you need to write that into your contract. If the contract contains a harsh indemnification clause you can’t remove, be sure that it applies only to the work as submitted, so you won’t be sued if the employer makes changes.

Above all, watch for confidentiality and non-competition clauses that can interfere with your livelihood. Change any restrictions on your dog-training booklets from “writing on the topic for two years” to “writing booklets on training Dachshunds in Greenwich Village apartments.” Anything over a year is oppressive, too. Your GCD contract advisor, whom you can find at advice@nwu.org, will help you with these changes.

Barbara Mende is the grievance and contract division coordinator.


02/04/2015 - 7:43pm

The New York Labor History Association is pleased to announce a call for entries for the First Annual Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize. The deadline is Tuesday, September 1, 2015. The $500 prize will be awarded to the author of an article or series of articles, which is published between January 2014 and August 30, 2015, and which furthers the understanding of the history of working people. The work needs to have been published—in print or online—in a union or workers’ center publication or by an independent journalist.

In sponsoring this award, the association hopes to inspire more great writing for a general audience about the history of work, workers, and their organizations. The award is co-sponsored by LaborArts; Metro New York Labor Communications Council; the NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO; and the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU’s Tamiment Library. The winner will be announced October 7, 2015. The late Debra E. Bernhardt worked in many different realms to share the hidden histories of working people. Entries should include a cover sheet with name of the author, place and date of publication and the article(s); six copies should be submitted to:  New York Labor History Association, Tamiment Library, 10th Floor Bobst Library NYU, 70 Washington Square South, New York NY 10012. (For additional information: info@LaborArts.org or 212-998-2637)

Photo courtesy: Creative Commons


02/04/2015 - 7:42pm

By Kathleen Foster

A police officer killed Shantel Davis, a young African-American woman, through the open window of her car in June 2012. It happened in Flatbush, a Brooklyn neighborhood near where I live. Distraught residents described hearing the fatal shots and watching officers drag Davis’ bleeding body onto the street, where they left her to die.

As I listened, I remembered similar emotional responses of women whose innocent family members perished in NATO attacks in Afghanistan & Pakistan, where I made my last two films: Afghan Women and a History of Struggle, as well as 10 Years On: Afghanistan & Pakistan. I decided it was time to turn my lens on a subject closer to home.

In my new documentary Profiled, police brutality and racial profiling are explored through the stories of Black and Latino mothers of unarmed victims of fatal police shootings. With the widely circulated video of Eric Garner on Staten Island, killed in a police officer’s choke-hold, followed just days later by the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the issues and concerns raised by the women resonate across the nation. The ranks of demonstrators have swelled into the thousands.

We experience the grief the families suffer in the face of such tragedies, the struggles women confront when raising children in segregated neighborhoods that present few options for young people, and their anger at a justice system that often seems pitted against them. And we witness the women's transition from grieving parents to activists. I have completed the filming and have launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $25,000 to edit and finish the film. A short 3-minute trailer and more information about the film can be seen at:


Photo Courtesy: the author


02/04/2015 - 7:41pm

From left to right: Scott Sommer, UAW-NY regional sub-director; Raymond Nat Turner; Larry Goldbetter, NWU president; Toby Emmer, NY UAW education fund director and NWU member; Barry Hock MA CAP gaming director and NWU member; Peter Fullerton, UAW Local 365 President; Dennis Williams, UAW president; Chris Rhomberg, NWUSO board member and NWU member; Kathleen Flarhety, NWU Connecticut CAP rep and Zigi LowensteIn, NWU MENBER. Not shown: Calvin Ramsey (NY) and Chris Donavan (CT).

The 22nd Annual Region 9A Civil Rights Dinner on in late January in Hartford, Connecticut, proved a big UAW and NWU success. More than 300 participants from all over New England and New York, including nine NWU members, heard inspiring talks from the three award recipients: International UAW President Dennis Williams spoke about stepped up organizing in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, and how “labor rights are Civil Rights.” Casey Green, a spokeswoman for the bargaining committee of the University of Connecticut Graduate Research and Teaching Assistants, UAW Local 6950, reflected on the school’s struggle for its first contract and how, in only six weeks, more than 70 percent of the bargaining unit had signed union cards to gain recognition. Heather McGhee, president of DEMOS, an emerging leader in the progressive movement, asserted that changing US demographics are setting the stage for a bright future, if labor and its allies team up for the fight in the days ahead.  

Photo Courtesy: NWU


02/04/2015 - 7:39pm

For my blog, papersplease.org, I get paid a stipend that is a living wage.

-- Edward Hasbrouck

By Edward Hasbrouck

"I used to work for a travel agency that specialized in around-the-world airline tickets." In the fall of 2001, we found out about a new TV show, The Amazing Race, which had us excited. CBS premiered its reality series about teams of people going around the world competing in challenges on Sept. 5, 2001, and each day after the show was on, the team that had been eliminated was to appear on The Early Show. Since I’d recently published, The Practical Nomad, my publicist worked to get me on the show to give commentary.

So the morning of September 11th, I wake up and see that I’ve missed a call from a 212 area code. I figured it was CBS in New York, and that I would be getting on a plane to do The Early Show the next day. But when I listened to the message, I realized it was a wrong number: The person who had dialed me thought she was calling one of her colleagues. In the background I hear sirens and screaming as she says that she’s just come out of the subway and, “can’t find anybody, there’s smoke everywhere…” I turn on the TV just in time to see the second World Trade Center tower fall.

For a time, with all the fear around air travel, there was doubt that The Amazing Race would even go forward. But eventually it found its audience and went on to win Emmy awards for reality TV. I thought the show would spark a lot of interest in global travel, and have been writing a column about it since its first week on air 14 years ago. Since I acquired a lot of readers, and could keep up with the demands of a monthly column, I took the leap of launching a blog.


I’d been writing in different venues, published more books, and created a small, static website as an online brochure to advertise my books. But I wanted a place to publish things that didn’t fit in other formats, and over which I had more control. Blogs weren’t common in 2003, so I had to manually code the html (Internet language) to update the individual articles. But I liked the flexibility of it.

My blog initially was a way to advertise my books, but now my books serve as an advertisement for my website, which generates more income in ads than I get from the books. With books I only get 15 percent of the wholesale price, whereas I get all the revenue from the ads. I’ve never come close to making a living from books, but if someone clicks on an affiliate link on my website, and ends up buying a trip around the world, I get a nice piece of that. I can make upwards of $5000 a year in ad revenue from my website (hasbrouck.org).

For my other blog, papersplease.org, I get paid a stipend that is a living wage. A nonprofit organization that deals with civil liberties for travelers gives me a fixed, monthly amount to write their corporate blog. It contains information that both their members and the general public want. I blog 500 to 2000 or more words a couple times a week for them. It’s more newsy and analytical than my own blogs tend to be. I was hired to blog because of volunteer work I was already doing on travel-related civil liberties, and because I had a depth of understanding of the travel industry.


After working as a travel agent for 15 years, I helped as the industry made the transition from brick and mortar to online. I worked with programmers as a subject-matter expert, developing systems that duplicated the work of human travel agents, including the software, databases, the airlines’ information, etc. 

After September 11th, the newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began to perform wide-ranging surveillance, and the privacy information contained in travel reservations became vulnerable to being abused. People have even used travel reservations to stalk and kill other people. But more often they were going to be used by the DHS to control where you could go. When you make a reservation to fly somewhere, it’s sent to Homeland Security, which keeps a lifetime travel history on you; most people don’t realize what the codes in a reservation mean. But they’re the modern equivalent of an FBI file. So the civil liberties group came to me and said, you have this knowledge, can we put you on retainer to work on this issue. It was a dream assignment because it was what I was doing already.


I’m in Brussels right now because some European officials are seeking to use the massacre at the magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris as the excuse to look at all the reservations and decide who is allowed to fly. It's a proposal rejected four years ago, but now they’re reconsidering.

I recently attended a conference of professional travel bloggers. Not everybody there was successful at making their living from their blog, but everyone there who was successful was doing so in a slightly different way. They had a revenue mix that was a mix of monthly stipend, staff blogger for corporation, they sold different individual articles, they had sponsor pay them to blog about it. There’s no one way to do this.

Edward Hasbrouck's most recent trip around the world to update the 5th edition of The Practical Nomad lasted more than a year, and covered more than 80,000 miles through 28 countries on 6 continents.                          

-As told to Pamela K. Johnson, Jan. 2015

Photos courtesy: the author


02/04/2015 - 7:33pm

By Esther Cohen

I grew up in Ansonia, Connecticut, a small factory town outside of New Haven. In high school it was easier to get a job in New Haven, so I worked at the Yale School of Art and Architecture. My job was to file. I am the worst possible filer.

One day, the head of the department, a famous Russian architect, asked if I knew anything about books. I told him, “yes.” His book about white space— What is white space? I can’t really tell you—was the first volume I worked on. So it was ignorance and arrogance that launched my incipient career. 

Over these many years, I’ve continued to work on books the way some people knit, exercise or watch TV. I am not an academic, and I’m not especially knowledgeable, but books have become my life. I love them, and somehow I know how they work, how they are pieced together, how, even, to write one. The subject doesn’t much matter.


For some years I worked in book publishing, as an editor, and later as publisher of a small company, based in New York and Jerusalem. Our books were in Hebrew, English and Arabic. (We published Beckett in Hebrew, so you can imagine the sales.) And I’ve had many jobs that had nothing to do with books. But there’s always been a book or two that I’ve worked on.

Sometimes people ask what a book doctor does. What’s the actual work involved. Think of any kind of doctor, say a general practitioner. A thousand things could be wrong, but they are always the same: flu, sciatica, sleeplessness, indigestion... People harbor ideas for years. Broad notions. Let’s say you want to write a book about mothers-in-law: A commercial book about the reality, the problem, and ways to make the relationship better. You take notes. And notes. But how to put them together, say what you really want to say, how to turn the idea into a book… This is what I know how to do.

Many people long to write a book, but don’t know how to begin. A few years ago America’s most successful commercial romance novelist Nora Roberts (we share an agent, and there the similarities end) was interviewed in the New Yorker about how she writes two books a year. Always. She gave the best possible advice. The secret, she said, is to put your ass into the chair.

And she’s right. I can help you once you’re sitting there, help you to figure out what you really want to say, and what process will work for you to get you from your idea—the idea you’ve had forever—to a real book that you can hold in your hands, or pull up on Kindle.


For those who need nurturing and support through the process, I help them begin and then, the harder part, continue on to the final page. Most people are furthered along by having a clear process, by sending me pages on Tuesday every week, and by knowing that by Thursday, I’ll write back about their pages On trees! On recipes! On poems about Nigeria!

Some people have an unruly manuscript that is all pages and no narrative. I put those pages together so that they make sense. Some people obsess about whether or not to find an agent, how to write a query letter, how to understand the process. And today, because we have so many options for books, because there are so many choices for self publishing, some people want to know what would be the best option for them. Should they self publish? And if they do, how can they find readers? Having many options is wonderful and frightening. Most of us need help knowing how to negotiate the complicated path.

A few years ago I wrote a novel about this called The Book Doctor. The chorus, in the form of query letters is, I Want to Write a Book. You are not alone; most of us do.

Esther Cohen sends poems most days from esthercohen.com. She’s a cultural activist, writes as much as she can, and lives in a rent-stabilized apartment in New York City with her longtime husband, Peter Odabashian, a documentary filmmaker.

Photo Courtesy: the author; WritingSisters.com



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.


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.)


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,

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.


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

02/04/2011 - 1:29pm


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