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

07/23/2012 - 10:47am
The Challenges of the Print to Digital Paradigm PDF Print E-mail

 

Larry Goldbetter (2nd. from r.) of NWU, Local 1981 - Photo By Tom Good

Larry Goldbetter (2nd. from r.) of NWU, Local 1981 - Photo By Tom Good

July 17, 2012
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter
 
The re-elected President of the National Writers Union, Local 1981, Larry Goldbetter, spoke with LaborPress recently about the issues and struggles the Local is engaging in. With 1,300 members, the union represents freelance writers of all genres.

The union’s main struggle is to ensure that writers get paid, because although the shift from print to digital writing and journalism has allowed more publishers to publish, the contradiction is that there are many instances where writers aren’t getting paid.

For example, the union has been waging a three-year battle against publisher Inkwell Solutions, where 60 workers (writers, editors, graphic artists and translators) in New York were owed $360,000 for writing content for textbooks in the Texas school system. Unfortunately, the owners took the $360,000, closed shop and then split, making it very unlikely that the workers will see any of those earnings. The union is still working out the details for a judgement in federal court. 

But Goldbetter noted that a big part of the legal case was to argue that the workers were really misclassified workers because in many respects they weren’t working as freelancers.

“The workers worked on company computers, they had to adhere to company work schedules and were supervised by four managers,” said Goldbetter.

According to Goldbetter, the New York State Department of Labor has a very good stand on the issue of misclassified employees, so by filing with the department, the union was able to have the owners held personally responsible.

“At a minimum, we were able to stop them from ripping off more people, and if the owners were to reopen another publishing business, the 60 workers would be the first in line to be paid,” Goldbetter said.

Two other fights include one with Natural Solutions, a magazine in the Twin Cities, and Heart and Soul magazine, which is almost exclusively written by and produced by black women on black women’s health. Goldbetter noted that the Twin Cities mag owes upwards of $25,000 to 15 freelancers of the NWU, while the Heart and Soul’s publisher owes 20 freelancers over $150,000 for work completed, published and sold.

“We already got $20,000 from the publisher, but we're still waiting for the outstanding balance to be paid to the freelancers."

These fights epitomize the landscape that freelance writers encounter daily as technological advancements have thoroughly toppled the dominance of print journalism.

“It’s amazing how many people are writing and not getting paid. The biggest contradiction the union is facing is that it’s easier than ever before to publish, but it’s harder than ever before to make a living at it,” Goldbetter noted.

One reason he gave for the dramatic shift from print to online journalism can be drawn from history.

“I think in general, anytime there have been significant developments in technology, the initial outcome has been for the new owners of that technology to reap tremendous benefits at the expense of workers.”

He likened the shift to digital to the introduction of mass production assembly lines.

“At first, autoworkers worked for next to nothing on the line. It took time for the workers to catch up and get organized. Under this system, the owners of the new technology use it to their advantage. If writers owned the technology, they could use it to develop writing, journalism, publishing and culture. But the owners organize it to make a fortune out of it for them.”

The union is also leading a long-term strategic campaign, Pay the Writer (paythewriter.org), which it launched soon after Arianna Huffington, the founder of the online news site Huffington Post, sold it to AOL for $315 million in February 2011! The focus of the campaign is to ensure that freelancers get paid for any content they produce for news sites and other online properties.

“The ultimate objective is to establish a pay standard for online journalism, similar to a minimum wage, although freelancers don’t get paid hourly wages. The motivation behind our boycott of HuffPo was that we believed that Arianna had the opportunity to do the right thing, but she instead decided to commit herself to doing the wrong thing. She could have set the standard by saying, ‘My freelancers deserve a minimum of a $1 per word.’ But she didn’t do that.”

According to Goldbetter, HuffPo pays its non-union newsroom staff, but it doesn’t pay its freelance writers, although the company now says it doesn’t hire freelance writers at all, which Goldbetter says is just not true.

Interestingly, Goldbetter and fellow NWU members had the opportunity to greet Ms. Huffington, who draws a $4 million salary as director of online content for AOL, when she was invited to speak at the National Women’s Law Center’s 40th birthday celebration on the Upper Westside. LP readers can see the encounter via http://vimeo.com/42020660.

“There are a lot of writers on the Upper Westside, so when they saw us standing outside with our banner, we got a tremendous response from people going to the event and people walking by,” said Goldbetter.

A $315 million sale of digital content and property is no chump change. “There’s plenty of money there, but the writers aren’t getting it, so that’s our apple,” Goldbetter said.

But he acknowledged the union faces an uphill battle to achieve the goals of the campaign because it requires a very big movement of writers, which is not easy.

“We need a bigger union than we have today. The campaign has to build a stronger union in order for it to win a pay standard. In order to do that, we have to really involve thousands of journalists who write everywhere to see what the lay of the land is.”    marc@laborpress.org

Original story here

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07/19/2012 - 10:32am

Media Release
19 July 2012

IFJ Backs PJS Demand for Respect of Palestinian Journalists’ Dignity after Security Check Incident in Jerusalem


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Israeli authorities to respect the right to dignity of Palestinian journalists who work in the country. The call followed an incident on Monday at the press conference in Jerusalem of US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, when Palestinian journalists were forced to remove their clothes for security checks, according to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), an IFJ affiliate. Those who refused were turned away, said the PJS.

“We share our Palestinian colleagues’ outrage at this behavior which should not be tolerated,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “The authorities must not allow the security forces to humiliate and discriminate against Palestinian journalists. They should apologise for this shameful incident and commit to preventing it from happening again.”

The PJS said that Palestinian journalists were singled out and made to remove their clothes as part of the security checks at the David City Hotel where the US Secretary of State was due to hold a press conference. The Syndicate added that the incident took place in front of US security personnel, prompting the PJS to send a protest letter to Mrs. Clinton.

“Stripping Palestinian journalists of their clothes using security excuses represent the racist policy of the Israeli government toward Palestinian journalists, in addition to severe restrictions on the ability to work and move freely like their colleagues from around the world,” said the letter which called on the US Secretary of State to take a stand against the violation of Palestinian journalists’ dignity.

The IFJ backs the PJS’ demand, saying that visiting dignitaries to Israel and Palestine have an obligation to speak out against the treatment meted out to Palestinian media despite the Israeli government’s claim to democratic rule based on basic human rights, including press freedom.

“This incident gives a lie to all pretence of equal enjoyment of human rights to everyone who is subject to the Israel’s jurisdiction,” added Boumelha. “That such a practiced of public discrimination can be on full display before high level foreign visitors should be condemned by those who are witnesses to it.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries

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07/18/2012 - 4:14pm

EFJ Press Release

International backing for Greek journalist in IMF row


Threats by a senior official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Greece to cut off a newspaper's access to information after one of its journalists refused to reveal his sources have been condemned by the European Federation of Journalists today.


The threat was made by Mr. Bob Traa, Senior IMF Resident Representative in Athens, who was reacting to a story by Greek journalist Zois Tsolis for the TO VIMA newspaper.

On 24 June 2012, Tsolis published an exclusive report in the weekly newspaper that included facts and data on an increase in the number of public servants in some ministries over the last two years, despite contrary recommendations in the memorandum of understanding agreed with the "Troika" - the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

After being asked to attend a meeting with Mr Traa, Zois Tsolis was bluntly asked to reveal "how he managed to find" the documents used for his article. Traa then threatened to stop communicating with the newspaper TO VEMA, claiming that there are other newspapers ‘accurately delivering' data they provide.

"Such a behavior of a high-ranking international official is inappropriate and threatening for our profession" said EFJ President Arne König. "Asking a journalist to reveal the source of accurate information is clearly an infringement of fundamental press freedom standards".

"As international and European institutions are squeezing Greek social rights in the name of austerity, we say that the public needs to be informed about what is happening and that journalists need to be able to work without pressure and without fear" said the President of the International Federation of Journalists Jim Boumelha.

Mr. Tsolis is a member of the EFJ/IFJ affiliate, the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspaper (JUADN), which warned that "such a behavior is also offensive for all the Greek Press".

The EFJ and the IFJ are calling on representatives of international organisations in Greece, and in particular Mr Traa, to respect press freedom and journalists' professional rights.

The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in 30 countries
For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200

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06/29/2012 - 8:08pm

2012 on track to be the deadliest on record for journalists
By Curtis Brainard

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago — With 72 journalists killed so far this year, 2012 is on pace to be the deadliest on record, the International Press Institute (IPI) announced here on Sunday.

The media freedom organization’s executive director, Alison Bethel McKenzie, choked up and struggled to speak as she addressed the group’s annual conference.

“From Somalia to Syria, the Philippines to Mexico, and Iraq to Pakistan, reporters are being brutally targeted for death in unparalleled numbers,” she said.

The most lethal year so far in the 15 that IPI has been keeping records was 2009, when 110 journalists died. Last year was the second worst, with 102 deaths.

Read more here.

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06/25/2012 - 9:05pm

Labor Leader ● World-Class Poet ● Enlightened Educator
Political Activist  ● Pan-Africanist  
Devoted Family Man ● Faithful Friend
Louis Reyes Rivera
Louis Reyes Rivera
gave us so many ways to remember him. His life has already been celebrated
by a wide variety of friends, associates, and groups. Now he needs a special tribute
by fellow writers, many of whom he coached, inspired, and encouraged.
 
New York Chapter of the National Writers Union/UAW 1981
Invites you to join us in paying tribute to this extraordinary man  
Saturday ● July 14, 2012  ● 2:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
 
House of the Lord Church
415 Atlantic Avenue  (corner of Nevins)
Brooklyn, NY 11217

If you worked with Louis as a poet, teacher, or radio host, if you were a member of his workshop,
or if you stood with him in social justice campaigns, please share your experiences at this tribute.
We would like to accommodate as many speakers as possible, so time limits may be needed.
To reserve a place in the program, please contact us by Friday, June 29. 212.254.0279 ext 7  info@nwuny.org
Directions: A, C, G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn; 2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins; B, Q to Atlantic; D, N, R to Atlantic/Pacific

Photo by Tom Good

Sponsored by the
New York Chapter of the National Writers Union/UAW 1981
256 West 38th Street, New York, NY 10018
http://www.nwuny.org

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06/19/2012 - 7:57pm

Sisters and Brothers - This is an important week for our sisters at Heart and Soul, who are owed more than $135,000. This week we are taking this struggle to the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention in New Orleans. Some of our H&S members are there spreading the word.

 

You can help. Please post this press release on your website and FB page, and send to your contact lists. Spread the word. We are Union. We are NWU. Thanks.

 

 

Editors, Writers of Heart & Soul Still Unpaid

 

 

New York, NY- (June 19, 2012) - The National Writers Union has issued an alert to writers and editors who are considering working for Heart & Soul magazine (H&S).

 

The 15-year-old publication out of Washington, DC, still owes over $135,000 to writers and editors who have joined the union, and tens of thousands of dollars more to designers, photographers and stylists who have not yet joined.

 

Roughly a dozen editors and contributors to H&S had gone unpaid for more than six months as of January 2012. By May 2012, several freelancers were paid, five of them in full. No payments have been made since then, even though H&S failed to fulfill repeated and documented promises to compensate all owed in full.

 

As one former H&S editor, whom has yet to be paid, stated:

 

"A group of African-American businessmen and women, including George Curry and Clarence Brown, have exploited a group of mostly African-American women in order to publish a publication geared towards women, while ignoring pleas for payment from contributors who were undergoing treatment for breast cancer, were at risk for foreclosure on their homes, or were nursing a new baby."

 

To arrange an interview with some of the writers and editors who are party to this action, email nwu@nwu.org or call: 212.254.0279 .

Read more...
06/12/2012 - 5:47pm

April 2, 2013:  Heart and Soul and the NWU have reached a written settlement agreement that resolves all disputes over unpaid fees with the 12 individual writers represented by the NWU in this Agreement, and made an initial payment towards this final settlement.

--------------------------------------------

June 12, 2012: Beginning in January of 2011, Heart & Soul magazine stopped paying its contract writers and staff editors. The National Writers Union intervened in November. By May 2012, several freelancers were paid, five of them in full. No payments have been made since then as H&S has failed to fulfill repeated and documented promises to pay in full. H&S still owes over $135,000 to seven writers and editors that the NWU represents. There are others. The NWU continues to pursue this matter vigorously and urges writers to take the ongoing situation into account before submitting work to Heart & Soul.

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05/15/2012 - 8:56am

NWU Members Participate in Copyright Symposium - NWU Book Division Co-Chair Edward Hasbrouck reports

NWU members Edward Hasbrouck, Mike Bradley, and Bruce Hartford participated in a symposium on copyright law, "orphan works" the holders of some rights to which cannot be located by some of those who want to use them, and mass digitization of books (i.e. scanning and conversion to e-books of entire library collections) at U.C. Berkeley on April 12-13.

A white paper endorsed by the NWU, "Facts and Fallacies of Orphan Works" (pdf), was included in the conference proceedings and distributed at the event.

As an indication of the tone of the symposium, the most enthusiastic and positive response was to one of the speakers, Prof. Lydia Loren, who suggested that instead of referring to "orphan works" we should call them "hostage works" (a suggestion that was, in fact, taken up by several later speakers!) for which "special operations" (illustrated in her slides by armed commandos) would be necessary to "free" them from "rightholders" who are keeping them from the would-be reading public.

Unfortunately, most of the proposals for licensing-by-default of books and other works determined to be "orphaned", as well as broader proposals that would include default licensing of all "out of commerce" or "out of print" books, have emerged from discussions in which working writers have not been included. Although the NWU has been in dialogue with the organizers of the symposium, who acknowledged this as an "oversight", none of the speakers represented working writers.

The danger is that many works will be categorized as "orphans", and even more as "out of print" in the original editions on paper, even though authors have reissued them (and are earning royalties or Web advertising revenues from having done so) as e-books or on the Web.

I have tried to explain these problems in a follow-up article directed particularly to librarians and scholars: What do authors fear from "Orphan Works" licensing proposals?

Licensing-by-default of orphan works" (and, munged with them, "out of commerce" works) may seem a peripheral issue. But following the rejection of the proposed Google Books settlement, and with other library book-scanning projects under separate legal attack, legislation to authorize scanning and distribution in e-book or online form of "orphan works" is at the center of proposals to legalize mass scanning and electronic distribution of backlist books and periodical archives, without permission of (and in most cases without payment to) the writers.

The threat of laws like this is real, in the US and in other countries (especially the UK) where books and periodicals by US writers might be found in library collections and swept into these schemes.

Earlier this year France passed a shocking law allowing scanning of "orphan" works *and* allowing publishers to issue e-books of works they have issued on paper that are out of print in that format, regardless of whether those publishers ever acquired electronic rights. French and other writers have protested this law as a violation of fundamental rights. See: France Guillotines Copyright, Pétition Le droit d'auteur doit rester inaliénable, and Le ministère de la Culture face aux auteurs du Droit du serf.

Similar legislation is pending in the European Union, and if passed would of course include the UK, where many US publishers -- both commercial and academic -- simultaneously publish first editions. (We've been having productive discussions with some European Parliament staff, but there's no consideration yet in the EU debate of working writers' concerns.)

International entities such as IFRRO (in which the NWU participates, and with whose members we have raised our concerns) and WIPO (with whom we have also raised our concerns) are also looking at the issue, with WIPO considering the possibility of changes to the fundamental copyright treaty, the Berne Convention, for library book-scanning.

And in the US? In her keynote speech at the Berkeley symposium, US Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante (a former Executive Director of the NWU) said that "orphan works" legislation would be introduced in Congress next year, after the elections, with the Obama Administration's support.

The argument for such a law in the US was made by Prof. Pamela Samuelson of Berkeley -- the person most responsible for the symposium, and on other issues an ally of the NWU -- in an op-ed in the LA Times. Prof. Samuelson's arguments, which we will have to deal with in coming debates in Congress and with the public, include:

(1) Nobody is making any money from "orphan (or "out of commerce") works, so who cares what libraries do with them? (This ignores the ways authors are profitably re-issuing or re-using works, as e-books and/or online, that are "out of print" in their original editions.)

(2) There is already a "broad consensus" in support of "orphan works" legislation. (This "consensus" is among those who want to use these works for free. Working writers who created these books and articles, and in most cases own the electronic rights to them, haven't yet had a place at the table, and aren't part of any such consensus.)

(3) Everyone else (Canada, France, the EU) is doing it, so the US should get with the program. (The Canadian law is much more limited than previous US or current EU proposals. And as noted above, the French law has been the subject of vehement protest by French and many other writers.)

(4) A digital library would be a Good Thing, so why would anyone object? (We're all for a digital library, and would happily join librarians in lobbying for the appropriation of funds to pay programmers to build it, librarians to staff it, *and* authors for the content to fill it. Librarians and salaried academics don't work for free. Why should we?)

The NWU national officers and Book Division co-chairs are meeting soon with a delegation from the American Library Association to discuss this and other issues related to library use of e-books. We hope to find ways to work together with libraries to enable writers to license our work directly to libraries, if we so choose on an "opt in" basis.

We were pleased to be able at least to attend the Berkeley symposium, but we have a lot of work to do to educate librarians, legislators, and the public about how these proposals would undermine our livelihoods.

As usual, more information is available on the NWU Book Division website.

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05/09/2012 - 11:32am

NWU Defends First Amendment: No Restrictions On Peaceful Public Communication, Assembly And Dissent

The Chicago Chapter of the National Writers Union, Local 1981 of the United Auto Workers, AFL-CIO, today issued a statement, demanding no restrictions on peaceful public communication, assembly and dissent.

"We are appalled at the efforts by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his Administration, backed by the Chicago City Council, to limit the ability of people to speak truth to power, and to be able to  indicate the depth and intensity of their disgust at the on-going wars initiated around the world by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the U.S. Government, under control by both the Democrats and Republicans, who will soon be meeting in Chicago.  Support for these wars is at its lowest it has ever been.  Yet the Mayor's policies are intended to prevent our people from visibly demonstrating their opposition to this on-going violence overseas, and the accompanying militarization--with accompanying attacks on the First Amendment and our civil liberties--of our society at home.  We strongly demand that this misguided policy be repudiated, and that recognition of our First Amendment rights be made the priority of authorities here at home," said Kim Scipes, Chair of the Chicago Chapter of the National Writers Union.

We stand in solidarity with the National Nurses United and their struggle to protest peacefully on May 18.

See NWU Chicago press release here (Word.doc).

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05/06/2012 - 9:24pm

Google book-scanning lawsuit re-focuses on snippets and fair use

Google continues to scan millions of books from cooperating university libraries, including general books that are still in print and in copyright. But multiple lawsuits by writers, artists, and illustrators against Google and its library "partners" are also continuing.

A proposed settlement of one of those lawsuits, to which the National Writers Union and many other writers successfully objected, would have allowed Google to use for its own profit, display online, and license as e-books the full text of the books it has scanned, without authors' consent.

Since that proposed settlement was rejected by the court, the case has been narrowed to focus on Google's initial scanning of copyrighted books and display on its website of excerpts from those books.

The main question is whether that falls within the limited exception to the requirement of permission for "fair use" that doesn't "interfere with normal exploitation" of copyrighted work.

Prof. James Grimmelmann has a report on the latest hearing in Authors Guild v. Google, and an overview of the case, in his blog:  GBS: Oral Argument Recap

Documents and a calendar of future court hearings and filing deadlines in this and related cases are available at  The Public Index, a project of Prof. Grimmelmann and his students at New York Law School.

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Union News

07/27/2011 - 6:24pm

By Wendy Werris
Jul 27, 2011

In a move as significant for its breadth as its implications for the future of book coverage, the Los Angeles Times book review laid off all of its freelance book reviewers and columnists on July 21.

Susan Salter Reynolds was with the Times for 23 years as both a staffer and freelancer and wrote the “Discoveries” column that appeared each week in the Sunday book review. She was told that her column was cancelled and will not be replaced by another writer. “I don’t know where these layoffs fit into the long-storied failure at the Times,” she said yesterday, “but these are not smart business decisions. This is shabby treatment.”

Jon Thurber, editor of the book review, explained to Reynolds last Thursday that all books-related stories will now be done in-house, and that the decision to cease eliminate non-staffers was based on his freelance budget being cut. Richard Raynard’s popular “Paperback Writers” has also been eliminated. As children’s books editor at the Times for the last several years Sonja Bolle, who most recently wrote the monthly “WordPlay” column, said, “This indicates an even deeper contraction of the business, a continuation of a process at the Times that doesn’t stop here.” Bolle is most concerned about the shrinking coverage of children’s books. “This is a great loss for readers,” she said of the elimination of her column.

Four staffers remain in the book review section: David Ulin, Carolyn Kellogg, Nick Owchar, and Thurber. In December 2009 the Times laid off 40 features writers, including Reynolds and Bolle, but brought many of them back to work part-time. “We were paid about one-third of what we had been making, and lost our health insurance,” Reynolds says. "Then two months ago we were shifted to freelance status, which meant none of us were allowed to enter the Times building.” Thurber did make an exception for Reynolds so she could come to the office to pick up the multiple review copies she received daily in order to produce her column.

When contacted, Thurber deferred to Nancy Sullivan, the Times’s v-p of communications. “This was a cost-saving move,” she said, “strictly related to our budget.” Sullivan would not provide details on the number of freelancers who were eliminated last week. “Staff writers from outside the book department will take over for those who left. We have not changed our commitment to book coverage or the amount of space the Times will devote to it.”

07/22/2011 - 4:39pm

There was a "status conference" July 19th in New York in the ongoing Federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Google for scanning millions of books without the permission of the copyright holders.

The parties to the lawsuit asked for more time to try to negotiate a new settlement proposal. Judge Chin scheduled another hearing for September 15th, but suggested that if the parties had not reached at least an agreement in principle by then, he would set a schedule for the case to move forward toward discovery, briefing, argument, and decision of the legal issues without an agreed-upon settlement.

Law Prof. James Grimmelmann, who spoke at the NWU's forum on the case last year, has more about the hearing in his blog:
http://laboratorium.net/archive/2011/07/19/gbs_status_conference_opt-in_settlement_in_the_wor

Earlier this year, Judge Chin agreed with the NWU and numerous other writers' organizations from around the world that the previous settlement proposal was not "fair and adequate".  But Google, the Association of American Publishers, and the Authors Guild (whose membership is limited to authors of books published by major publishers with substantial advances, unlike the NWU which is open to all writers) have continued to exclude the NWU and all other interested parties from their ongoing negotiations.

The NWU is continuing to monitor the case, and will advise our members on future developments.  Backgorund information incluidng the NWU's submissions to the court is available from the NWU Book Division at: http://www.nwubook.org

07/15/2011 - 5:07pm

BBC journalists in one-day strike

BBC Television Centre The BBC has apologised to viewers and listeners
for any disruption
Continue reading the main story
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14152795?print=true#story_continues_1>

Journalists at the BBC have begun a 24-hour strike in a row over
compulsory redundancies.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted in favour of
industrial action last month because a number of World Service
journalists are facing compulsory redundancy.

The NUJ has warned that the strike will cause "widespread disruption" to
radio and TV programmes.

A BBC spokesman said the corporation was "disappointed" by the action.

Viewers and listeners saw some changes to BBC output on Friday morning
as a result of the strike.


BBC journalists in one-day strike
BBC          Television CentreThe BBC has apologised to viewers and listeners for any disruption
Continue reading the main story
Journalists at the BBC have begun a 24-hour strike in a row over compulsory redundancies.
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted in favour of industrial action last month because a number of World Service journalists are facing compulsory redundancy.
The NUJ has warned that the strike will cause "widespread disruption" to radio and TV programmes.
A BBC spokesman said the corporation was "disappointed" by the action.
Viewers and listeners saw some changes to BBC output on Friday morning as a result of the strike.

07/14/2011 - 4:09pm

Forty years after it was first published, the book Occupied America: The History of Chicanos has been banned, and its author, Rudolfo Acuña, widely published professor and prominent immigrant-rights activist thinks he knows why.

To Acuña, a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, it boils down to two things: numbers and control. He says that banning his book and shutting down an ethnic studies program that has been widely successful in Arizona are part of an effort to undermine social inclusion and financial uplift for Chicanos, or people of Mexican descent. Not only has his work come under fire, but Acuña has received numerous death threats from unidentifiable individuals who are at odds with his commitment to improving the system of education and living conditions for Chicanos. 

This work is very much tied to the immigration issue, which Acuña, who was born in Los Angeles to Mexican immigrants, says, "puts panic in people [and makes them think] 'We're losing our country.'"

This might be why so many politicians have rallied against his groundbreaking work in Chicano Studies - an academic program he helped develop in the late 1960s at California State University, Northridge. While this initiative remains the longest running and largest such program, many others have since been established at universities across the country, and even some middle and high schools. 

Not everyone is so keen on seeing Chicano studies expand. Among the program's most vocal critics is Arizona's attorney general, Tom Horne, who has called it a sort of "ethnic chauvinism." He has also claimed that the program is "an officially recognized, resentment-based program," even though the National Education Association has shown that such curriculum instead increases interracial understanding and significantly enhances students' interest in academic pursuits. 

07/14/2011 - 4:01pm

On June 21, 2011, just before heading on to the Delegate Assembly in Detroit, 1st V.P. Ann Hoffman and I met at the Executive Office Building in Washington, next door to the White House, with President Obama's lead advisor on intellectual property enforcement and policy issues.

This meeting was a follow-up to comments on writers' difficulties enforcing our rights that we submitted in 2010, shortly after the creation of the office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator: http://www.nwubook.org/NWU-ip-enforcement.pdf

The office of the IPEC doesn't carry out enforcement actions itself, but exists to coordinate the Administration's executive actions -- including copyright and other IP-related law enforcement -- and legislative recommendations such as those on future copyright "reforms": http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/intellectualproperty/

We received no response to our initial written submission, and writers' interests (especially vis-a-vis publishers and distributors) were not reflected in IPEC reports and strategic recommendations.

Accordingly, we requested a face-to-face meeting with the IPEC office. Somewhat to our surprise, we found the door wide open. (Not literally, of course -- admission to the building required not only an appointment and "screening" at the entrance to the White House compound but detailed submissions of personal information, in advance, to the Secret Service.)

We met for the better part of an hour with the head of the office, the "IP Enforcement Czar" herself, Ms. Victoria Espinel, along with four of her staff advisors she had invited to provide expertise on specific aspects of IP enforcement ranging from copyrights to international law. All had read our comments in preparation for the meeting, although they still seemed to be surprised when we began our presentation by identifying publishers and distributors as the most significant infringers of writers' copyrights.

06/03/2011 - 5:49pm

New York City June 1 - At a brief status conference this afternoon, Google, the Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers asked
Judge Denny Chin for additional time to explore settlement possibilities. Judge Chin scheduled the next status conference for July 19.

There's more on the google Books hearing from Publishers Weekly:
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/47490-no-progress-on-google-book-settlement-talks-tone-changing-.html

05/26/2011 - 11:08am

The Executive Committee of the Union of Cyprus Journalists is greatly concerned and expresses its abhorrence over incidents of violence against Turkish Cypriot journalists by the so-called “police” in the occupied part of Cyprus.

Following a second bomb attack against the car and the life of a Turkish Cypriot colleague and the shooting attack against the offices of a newspaper, an assault against journalists by “policemen” of the occupation regime comes to clearly confirm that freedom of the press is under undisguised persecution in the occupied part of Cyprus.

The latest incidents of violence against journalists came about when Turkish Cypriots colleagues, covering a protest march by employees of the so-called “Turkish Cypriot Airlines” made redundant by its closure, were beaten and had their cameras damaged by “policemen” trying to prevent them from carrying out their work.

The Union of Cyprus Journalists strongly deplores raw violence and stresses that it will report on the above mentioned actions against freedom of the press to all European and world journalists organizations.



The Executive Committee
of the Union of Cyprus Journalists

05/16/2011 - 5:19pm

When:  Sunday, May 29, 2011

What:  The first  "Net Needs News Day." 

Who:  Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Has invited members to simultaneously publish a cartoon about how the web is mostly useless without original reporting generated by newspapers.  (Note: Cartoonists are participating on their own.)  Society of Professional Journalists President  Hagit Limor will blog on this topic at www.spj.org.

Why:  Increase public's awareness and appreciation of journalism and its vital role to information on the worldwide web (95% of all original content online.)   

2nd reason: SPJ recently favorited a motion graphics video on the same topic for its new channel for journalists. ("The Fat Lady Has Not Sung: Why the Internet Needs the News" is also airing at Stanford University graduate classes) : http://www.youtube.com/user/spjournalists#p/a/f/0/PRdUTWn-Zvo     

Where:  As many newspapers as possible.

Contact:  Sharon Geltner, Froogle PR, geltner@netneedsnews.net.  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reqs.php#!/pages/The-Fat-Lady-Has-Not-Sung/168436819844750

05/10/2011 - 5:15pm

Between September 2010 and February 2011, InnoVision Health Media published 13 articles by nine members of the National Writers Union in Natural Solutions magazine. While Natural Solutions magazine commissioned, accepted and published the articles, its publisher, Dick Benson, has yet to pay most of these writers for their work. Although Mr. Benson finally responded to our messages on April 26, 2011, when he sent an email saying, “We have paid many of these and we are expecting to pay the remaining invoices shortly,” only one member, who was owed $350, has actually received payment. Benson still owes the remaining eight writers a collective total of $11,510.12. The NWU is continuing to pursue this matter and recommends that writers take into account this ongoing situation before submitting work to Natural Solutions magazine or any of Dick Benson’s other publications.

Update: By January 2012, the NWU was representing 14 members who were collectively owed $22,595.12 for articles that Natural Solutions magazine commissioned, accepted and published between 2010 and 2011. The NWU has also been representing two members who are owed royalties for books published through Natural Solutions parent company, InnoVision Health Media.

On September 4, 2012, one member received a check for $1,250.00 – the full amount owed for three articles published in Natural Solutions. The remaining 13 claims for a total of $21,345.12, as well as the two book royalty claims, remain outstanding. The NWU is continuing to pursue this matter and will update this page as new developments take place.

Second Update: On November 19, 2012, the National Writers Union and InnoVision Health Media reached an agreement providing for installment payments to 13 NWU members who are owed $21,345.12 for articles published in Natural Solutions magazine and to two NWU members who are owed $376.66 in outstanding royalties for books that were published by InnoVision Health Media. The first payment was received on November 19, 2012. This alert will be updated after the final installment has been remitted.

Third Update: InnoVision Health Media has remitted its final installment and all NWU members who were part of the claim have been paid in full.