This is the Insurgent Radio Kiosk for Thursday, November 19th
November 19: The Fight for a Writer’s Bill of Rights
On this day in Labor History the year was 1981.
That was the day that the National Writers Union was founded.
The Writer’s Union represents freelance writers across a range of genres.
The idea for a union had gained steam at the American Writers Congress in New York City that October.
Author Toni Morrison delivered a keynote speech to a packed room of 3,000 attendees.
She declared “We don’t need any more writers as solitary heroes. We need a heroic writers movement—assertive, militant, pugnacious.”
She made the call for “an accessible organization that is truly representative of the diverse interests of all writers.”
The editor of The Nation magazine echoed the call for solidarity amongst writers.
During the Reagan administration, the resurgence of the Cold War Era anti-left rhetoric left many worried about the constitutional right of free speech.
A union would be a way for writers to stand together.
By 1983 the union had ratified their constitution.
The United Auto Workers provided free office space.
The Auto Workers union was branching out to organize beyond auto plants, with other groups of workers including graduate students.
In 1991 the writers voted to formally affiliate with the United Auto Workers.
During the 1980s the NWU reached agreements for freelance writing standards with publications including Black Film Review, Mother Jones and Ms. Magazine.
The union has also worked to help freelance writers to recover wages owed to them by various publishers, stand up against censorship and protect free speech.
In 1992, the NWU held a series of events focused on a “Writer’s Bill of Rights.”
Today the union represents members from playwrights to web content writers, novelists to technical writers, bloggers to poets.
Labor History in Two Minutes is brought to you by a partnership between the Illinois Labor History Society and the Pennsylvania-based Rick Smith Show. All opinions are those of the speaker.
It’s today’s Action Calendar!
A presentation titled, “The Gerrymandering Fight”, with attorney Doug Poland, will be offered this evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Madison Labor Temple, 1601 South Park Street. Doug will talk about efforts in Wisconsin and other states to eliminate gerrymandering. Hosted by Our Wisconsin Revolution. Phone 332-1886 for information.
Wisconsin Books to Prisoners is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization whose mission is to foster a love of reading for those behind bars, encourage the pursuit of knowledge and and break the cycle of recidivism. Since 2006 Wisconsin Books to Prisoners has sent over 50,000 books to prisoners. Volunteers meet weekly on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Social Justice Center, 1202 Williamson Street. If you’d like to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alliance for Animals has volunteer opportunities to help animals. These might include tabling at the Farmer’s Market, distributing pro-animal literature, or joining a committee. For details visit allanimals.org or call 257-6333.
The City of Madison has a drop off program for recycling household batteries. Madison residents can recycle their single use household batteries by bringing them to a variety of locations. For more information, visit cityofmadison.com/streets.
The Insurgent Radio Kiosk is a four minute pre-recorded segment featuring a commentary and a calendar of daily events. Events must be low cost or non-profit and of interest to people in and around the WORT listening area. Please submit announcements at least ten days before the event at wortfm.org/kioskannouncements.
The Kiosk is available online at wortfm.org/kiosk.
This has been the Insurgent Radio Kiosk heard weekdays at 5:00, 6:30 and 9:00 AM and at 2:00 PM. I’m Greg Geboski. Submit announcements at least ten days in advance of the event at wortfm.org/announcements.