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Pay the Writers

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To the editors:

I am writing in response to Michael Miner's article regarding In These Times' financial problems. He didn't talk much about the National Writers Union, but readers should know that to date, the Union has garnered over $13,000 for aggrieved ITT writers. No, we do not want to put ITT out of business. Yes, we want to dispel the notion that writing, be it journalism, fiction, or practical, is something for which payment is optional, an honor and a privilege. Try promising honor and privilege to the landlord when the rent is late. For far too long, when publishers and employers have been in a financial bind they'd pay all their other creditors before they'd even think of paying their writers. Ten years ago, the National Writers Union was formed when outraged writers of all genres got together and said, "Enough!" In the past ten years, our grievance process has gotten writers nearly three-quarters of a million dollars that was owed them.

We set out to change an industry. We haven't done that yet, but we've made major strides in changing attitudes about writers. We have time, and words, on our side.

Judith Cooper

Chair, Chicago Local #12

National Writers Union

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