Wednesday, June 17, 2009

National Writers Union

Have any of you (who are based in the U.S.) joined the National Writing Union? Looking ever their actions I find a lot of causes I support including:

* Protesting Simon & Schusters rights grab in redefining "out of print".
* Opposing the requirement to register copyright to sue for statutory damages when copyright is infringed.
* Opposing the "orphaned works" bill (one of the few writers groups that did).
* Supporting single payer health insurance which would increase coverage of freelance writers.

They also offer grievance assistance, publisher warnings and contract advice as well as a lot of educational resources for members in good standing. The fees are in line with standard union dues at $120 if you earning up to $5000 from writing, and $195 if you earn up to $15,000.

I often hear writers on panels talk about investing proportion of your earnings in publicity and marketing, but what about union membership. I have been a member of my student unions, and unions at every job that had one--even a minimum wage cleaning job. But I have never joined a writers union, perhaps it is time I did?


Anonymous said...

I'm a former NWU member. I let my membership lapse a couple of years ago when they a) increased their dues and b) decreased their benefits. I called upon them to help intervene in a contract dispute, and they did basically nothing. They have no teeth, have no collective bargaining power or standard contract to enforce, and nobody respects them. As far as publisher warnings and such, they don't do anything that the Authors Guild doesn't already do, and the Authors Guild is far more powerful and respected.

zwrite said...

I was elected to a leadership position in the NWU last week, moving up after national elections on May 20 resulted in a new president, three new vice presidents, new trustees, etc.

I came across this blog while Googling the National Writers Union because I very recently formulated a plan for getting us more publicity and wanted to see what was out there about us.

I'm not going to deny that the NWU has been ineffectual in the past couple of years. That's why there is totally new leadership. I can send you their campaign platform. We need people like you to press the leadership to implement their excellent platform.

The truth is that we need brainpower more than money right now and I (can't speak for others) would love to have you contribute to making us more effective. There is a real chance that activated people can make a difference.

I am activated because I am pi---- about what has happened in journalism industry recently and our Supreme Court win hasn't netted us the millions we were promised.

On my first day as local branch leader, I created two union-related blogs. On second day, I offered ideas on leadership conference call.

If you want more information, you can e-mail me at

zwrite said...

This is for Anonymous.


I don't know whether you're the same Anonymous who periodically posts on Muchnick's Web site, but if you are I would like to inform you that one of my main goals for the NWU's national convention in August is to connect all of us who have an interest in Tasini vs. NYTimes case.

If you are that Anonymous, please e-mail me at We need to organize to get the money that we earned.