NEW YORK, NY (March 13, 2018) – The National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) announced today that they have reached an agreement with In These Times over a contract that covers freelancers for the publication’s print magazine and website.
The agreement follows a similar agreement negotiated last fall with The Nation, and provides a template for freelance digital writers seeking to organize to raise standards in the wake of successful union drives among staff writers of digital publications.
The agreement includes minimum rates for various types of freelance writing done for In These Times, kill fees, an expectation of payment within thirty days, and a grievance procedure for handling any disputes, among other protections.
Freelance writers account for two thirds of all professional writers in the United States, and according to a survey done by Contently last year , as many as 46% report earning less than $10,000 per year. Low rates of pay means freelancers have to work for a large number of publications, and often wait long periods of time to receive their pay.
“In These Times has published some of the most important voices in the labor movement for decades,” said David Hill, a freelance writer and a Vice President with the National Writers Union. “It’s fitting that writers at In These Times would be lighting the way for the rest of us who are trying to figure out how to build on the success of our staff writer counterparts.”
The National Writers Union was founded by writers in 1981 as, in the words of Toni Morrison, “an accessible organization that is truly representative of the diverse interests of all writers.”