Our chapter has grown; even if slowly. After NWU elections in spring of 2021 we took on the challenge to build a working group/activist type. We needed a type of buy in so that people felt they were a bigger part of the union than just a member. Because at the national level we only were able to elect one person to the steering committee at the local level we decided the chapter could elect people locally to a steering committee. And so after individual discussions and a promise that there would only be three to four scheduled meetings for the year we were able to recruit 8 people and then added two others from the FSP and voted them in at a chapter meeting.
Jeff Jacobberger who is the Legislative Director from the office of Bob Blumenfield , the L.A. City Council Member for the 3rd district on Sept.12,th, talked about the Freelance Isn’t Free Motion introduced in the L.A.City Council in January of 2021 and in August of this year it passed unanimously out of committee. It is now being crafted (written) in other structures of the city and it will be several months ( 4-6 maybe )before it is ready to be finalized and become part of our city laws. How fast it moves depends on many things, but the cuts in personnel due to the pandemic is a critical one. It is important that we submit out recommendations for adjustments we would like to see to the prototype taken from the New York law. The city budget is approved by May 1 for the following July so the wording must be done by then so as to be able to set aside money for implementation on July 1, of 2022 when the new city fiscal year starts. We will try and get the wording we need to city as soon as possible. We will also take the issue to different council members so they don’t forget it and also keep it moving along. One suggestion made was to be sure and bring pressure by writing to;https://cityclerk.lacity.org/publiccomment/?cfnumber=21-0107. This is an important area not to miss.
We have had 4 1/2 by 6 inch recruitment cards made in a limited number because the face of the cards recall a NWU writer passed and the second face has recruiting info on it. The next set of cards will pay tribute to a different writer. We use these cards to recruit at events and individually. Included is a copy of the front and back. A recurring problem is that people agree to join but just never make it to the web site so we hope the cards will help with this. The other thing is to do follow up with prospective members. We have spoken with a University professor not only about joining but also about making a presentation to his students and students in other departments. We have also made a presentation to an educators association to reach high school students and their parents. Eric Gordon, our past chair was successful at recruiting members that have lapsed, but we have not continued this due to lack of someone to do it.
We are now forming a recruitment committee which will develop a recruitment plan. Again all work must be done in participative/collective fashion so the plan/union becomes our own. (buy in). Of course members have their lives and we are appreciative of any time they have for their union but understand it makes things go slower than we wish.
Our membership meetings, which up to now have been poorly attended, (from 10 to fifteen percent of the actual members), have two parts. One is union business and the other is member development. We have had speaker/writers in the member development and are now going to make this part of the meetings accessible through zoom to the entire national membership. Our next two speakers scheduled for Nov. 13th at 1 pm pacific time are Gary Philips and Dennis Broe.
We have passed resolutions to support strikes and other activity of local/national union struggles as outreach and hoping to increase union consciousness and to build a network with other unions where writers may exist. We also sent a $250 dollar donation to the United Mine Workers Strike Fund in Alabama.
After our membership meetings we send out a report/minutes of the meeting to our entire membership so they know the union is active, alive and well. We also send out information about other events that are important to our members and union members in general. Again so that the membership sees we are trying to engage.
Yes. We have recently invited guests to speak about their careers in writing. Some of our members have been looking at other genres but didn’t know a lot about them. Everyone who came for the meeting stayed to hear our guest speaker who wrote short stories, for TV and now owns a comic book company, could speak to all those areas. Next we’ll have two mystery writers talk about what it is they do, and after the first of the year, we will have a writer who puts together free webinars on writing and find out what he gets out of it and where do our members sign up? We want to open up these educational segments to every NWU member nationally.