Freelancers of Poland (and the world), unite

A newly founded trade union of journalists in Poland is fighting back against the precariousness of freelance work by pressing publishers to commit to a list of demands. 

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Freelancers of Poland (and the world), unite - NewsMavens
Writer, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

As a freelancer, I'm somewhat bitter about the hardships of the occupation -- I have to cover costs for research, I expect long delays in publishing and no replies to pitches. I'm even surprised when an editor replies kindly and at length. I couldn't be more excited about the launch of the new journalists' trade union, especially since it has the explicit goal of caring for the interests of freelancers. 

The initiative to write all major Polish publications with a list of demands from freelancers, asking the publication to publish the open letter and commit to its demands, is praiseworthy. Almost all media nowadays rely on an undifferentiated mass of hungry freelancers, presumably interchangeable and forced to compete with one another. (If someone complains, we can always get someone else.)

There's enormous value in unionizing: if freelancers unite and give an ultimatum to editors, the latter might be forced to pay attention. In the small world of Polish media, it might actually make a difference. 

The list of demands by freelance journalists (if you're an editor, take them to heart): 

  • Sign contracts for commissioned pieces, and commit to pay within one month of delivery.
  • Submitted materials should be accepted or rejected within 14 days (no more endless waiting, with no publication and pay).
  • The cost of research and travel should be covered.
  • Fees should be paid on time.
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