The 2021 NWU Delegate Assembly (DA) was held online, October 21-23. It was our first DA since leaving the UAW, and coming out of the COVID lockdown. Despite the tremendous hardships faced by freelancers (and all workers) during the pandemic, including loss of work and little if any aid coming from the CARES Act, our members have stuck with us and our union is strong, albeit still small. About 35 delegates and officers, and an equal number of rank and file members, participated in the discussions and deliberations.
In the two-week run-up to the DA about 50 members participated in the reboot of four standing committees; Women, BLM, International and Legislative. If you are interested in getting involved in any of these committees write firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were honored to have a guest speaker begin each session:
- Writers Guild of America East Council Member Sara David, fresh from her election victory that saw digital media workers make significant gains at WGAE;
- Omar Faruk Osman, the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists of Somalia;
- ALF-CIO President Liz Shuler sent a pre-recorded congratulations on our Direct Union Local Affiliation.
We heard an inspiring organizing report from the Freelance Solidarity Project and voted unanimously to create the Digital Media Division of NWU. We also heard from the Book Division and acknowledged Edward Hasbrouck’s contributions as Book Chair and Copyright point person. Dan McCrory was elected to replace him. We reported on our plans to spread the Freelance Isn’t Free law to Los Angeles and state-wide in New York State with the support of the Graphic Communications Conference of the Teamsters Union and the NY DIRECT Coalition. Ted Prezelski was re-elected Chair of the Journalism Division.
Paul MacArthur and Barbara Mende reported from the Grievance and Contract Committee and we received reports from the NY, Boston and SoCal chapters.
The delegates passed two resolutions. The first supports the Writers Guild of America East Council’s resolution calling for the expulsion of police unions from the labor movement. The second welcomes “all media workers, as well as all unpublished writers, editors, illustrators, photographers, social media, video, or workers in any medium that have not yet had the chance to display their work” into NWU. You can see both resolution here.
A special highlight of the DA was an after-hours craft talk, virtual Happy Hour one-on-one with VP Dave Hill being interviewed by VP Pamela Johnson about Dave’s best selling book, “The Vapors.” It was a very special event.
All in all, the 2021 Delegate Assembly was an amazing experience and an important step in building a bigger, more powerful, more inclusive NWU.