Re: STC vs. NWU; differences?

Subject: Re: STC vs. NWU; differences?
From: Andreas Ramos <andreas -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 1994 10:51:25 -0800

Some four or five fellow techwriters e-mailed me with the same response
"What's the NWU?"

Here in the Bay Area, there's the STC in Sacramento and Oakland. There's
the NWU in San Francisco, with a sectiion in Monterey.

I don't know much about the national structure of the STC, in that I've
only attended occasional meetings of the STC in Sacramento and the Bay
Area. After visiting both the STC and the NWU, I chose to join the NWU.

The NWU has about 4,000 members nationwide. Yes, it's a union, in the
sense of the UAW (United Auto Workers) and the AFL/CIO, with which it is
affiliated. The NWU is Local 1981.

The STC *seemed* to me to be a general organization, with both writers,
managers, and publishers as members. The STC didn't *seem* to me to be a
writer's organization, in that it didn't represent the writers
specifically, but instead, represented the general field of technical
communications. It's difficult to describe, but it seems to me to be more
on the model of the AAA (American Automobile Association), albeit without
the road service :). Therefore I wondered if STC members felt that they
were getting someinting out of being members. (These are my impressions,
based on having visited several meetings, and reading the literature from
the STC. Please correct me if I'm wrong!)

The NWU, for me, has been a practical help. Being a real union, it offers
health care. Dues are only about $65 /year.

A big, if not the MAJOR difference for me, is that the job hotlines,
which both the STC and the NWU have, are very different. The NWU's
hotline is run by the NWU. They have their own staff person who looks for
contracts and staff postiions and then notifies NWU members of those
positions. If one succeeds in taking the contract, one pays (i think)
about 10-12% of the value of the contract directly to the hotline. The
money goes to finance the hotline itself (it pays the staffer's salary).

The STC, on the other hand, approaches this very differently. The hotline
is an advertising medium for recruiters; they then charge 25-30% of the
job contract from the writer.

It's precisely here, in the practical nature of the two groups, that
there is a difference. The NWU is biased towards the members; the STC
delievers its members to recruiters, who are a commercial enterprise and
who make their money on the money earned by the writer.

Of course, if you don't have a contract, then 30% fee is better than nothing.

The NWU also takes up postions which affect contract writers (which is
what we are; most work on single contracts, like migrant farm workers,
going from job to job.). A major issue is the 1706 tax issue; Congress
regratebly redefined the contract rules in imprecise way, such that
companies "think" that they are liable for the contract writer's taxes
(if the contract writer doesn't pay his/her taxes.) This
misinterpretation has been forewarded primarily by the recriuters, who
argue that companies should hire exclusively from recruiters, and thereby
absolve themsselves (the companies) of liablity. This is of course in the
public interest of recruiters. (no, actually, they make even more money,
in that they collect fees). The correct interpretation of the 1706 bill
releases employers from liability on the contracter's unpaid taxes. The
bill is so poorly written (what' worse then techtalk? It's lawtalk!) that
recruiters have managed to cow the companie into steering all contracting
to recruiters (especially large companies, such as SUN.)
The NWU is pushing for a clarification (a statement by the congress,
which spells out the issue), so that contract writers won't be forced by
companies to go through recruiters (i.e., writers will be able to collect
their full fee, instead of giving 25-30% to a recruiter, who did nothing
to find the job. Currently, a company has a contract, finds a writer, and
then tells the writer that he has to go through a recruiter.
What is the STC's position on this?

The NWU also takes up writer's interessts: in california, the
fundamentalists have succeeded in banning Alice Walker's short stories
from schoolbooks. Ms. Walker is a NWU member. The NWU is invloved in the

The NWU is a general union for writers; it represents writers,
novlelists, theatrical, poets, and techwriters.


Andreas Ramos, M.A. Heidelberg Sacramento, California

Previous by Author: STC vs. NWU; differences?
Next by Author: Re: job titles
Previous by Thread: Re: STC vs. NWU; differences?
Next by Thread: Re: STC vs. NWU; differences?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads