Guild Freelancers Unit General Meeting, 11/8/2017

The Guild Freelancers unit stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in organizing labor at the  Los Angeles Times.    PHOTOGRAPH BY CARL HALL. 

The Guild Freelancers unit stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in organizing labor at the Los Angeles Times.


Pacific Media Workers Guild, The Newspaper Guild, Communications Workers of America, Local 39521, AFL-CIO, CLC

Guild Freelancers unit

General meeting, 11/8/2017


Unit General Meeting Notes

1. Update on recent/past organizing and advocacy:

*Update from Know Your Rights workshop, organized by four photographers

50 people attended 

Signed up new/possible members for freelance unit

*Chapter supported two freelancers whose press passes were not respected; Carl Hall wrote letter to Berkeley police department.

*Union was present at the March Against Hate, with banner

*Future work: planning a contract negotiation workshop, negotiating IP/republication rights and rates. Tentatively scheduled for Jan. 2018


2. Update from CWA liaison

Organizing at Los Angeles Times.

Offer of help/assistance from freelancer unit. Trip to LA for picketing/visibility?


3. Organizing committee update

Next organizing committee meeting: 11/14, 4 p.m.

Key question: How can freelancers for newspapers/publications with active units/units in active bargaining be included? 

Action item: Create/maintain list of freelance contributors to said newspapers/publications.

Possible action item: Create internally held list of editors for freelancers to pitch, as another benefit of membership.

Question: Do we hold a “how to pitch” event?


4. Press pass update.

Key point: Barrier for acquiring one is low. Any photographer or writer with some published work can acquire one.

Action item: Appoint a “press pass czar” responsible for receiving paperwork from freelancers and passing it on to the union (i.e. Wendy).


5. Bill’s Bay News Rising update

Seven-week paid internship program for third-year college students studying journalism. Six participants this past summer, from SF State, CCSF, and Laney College. Students this year made a bargaining unit—and were paid to go to class.

This is a dues-funded program. Costs were cut in part by having Carl assist with the program.

Action items going forward: Hold outreach events to advertise program/organize new membership for freelance unit

Question: Organizing opportunity at area journalism schools, i.e. UC Berkeley’s masters program?


6. Minimum rate campaign.

Discussion of working on a campaign for a minimum rate in 2018. 

Broad support for such a campaign, as a recruitment and visibility tool and on the principle. 

Open questions: What the rate will be, how to calculate it, from whom will it be demanded.

Mentioned: a “Fair to Freelancers” seal in publications/on their websites, for organizations who adhere to our minimum rates
Mentioned: Union’s purchase of a “[Insert Publication Name here] is fair to workers” ad space in publications who adhere to minimum rates

Much more discussion/action/organizing to come.


7. Leadership nominations:

*Nomination of two co-chairs to lead unit

Unanimous nominees: Brooke Anderson and David Bacon

*Nomination of member to Representative Assembly

Nominee: Bill Snyder