Thursday, November 5, 2009

Guild hopes to organize freelancers

A new unit of the California Media Workers Guild is forming to support independent writers, editors and journalists of every type. From credentials to benefits, the union hopes to create better working conditions for freelancers.

Potential projects of the member-run freelance unit include:
    • Job-search assistance

    • Bidding for group benefits such as health insurance

    • Support with contract and payment disputes

    • Monitoring legislation to protect the interests of freelancers

    • Resource and referral directories
The new Guild unit is holding its first lunchtime workshop on Friday, Nov. 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Guild offices, 433 Natoma St., San Francisco. The topic is writing, publishing and promoting a nonfiction book. Panelists include sports writer Joan Ryan, film critic Mary F. Pols and religion writer Don Lattin. Here's a link with more information.

3 comments:

Rich Harber said...

if an editor has to pick between two freelancers, one unionized and one isn't, and all other things are equal, the non-union writer is going to get the job every time ... what editor is going to voluntarily bring more union members into his or her newsroom? even bruce brugmann fought off the guild when they attempted to unionize the guardian ...

Anonymous said...

I doubt editors will ever know the freelancers they're hiring are apart of this union, but the services they're proposing to offer sound pretty good. At least it's a good start.

Sara Steffens said...

Thanks for your comment.

U.S. law does not currently allow collective bargaining rights for independent contractors, and thus our unit functions more as a professional support organization.

It's up to our members whether to share their Guild affiliation with potential employers, but we imagine some publications will consider membership a plus, since one of our goals is to promote high standards and professionalism.