Writers’ unions bring digital contract work closer to trade work

Sam Lamourie

Writing and publishing industries have rapidly expanded into the online space. As a result, the working conditions of writers have also undergone rapid change. Rather than working full-time for a single publication, vast numbers of digital writers are now freelancers.

Freelance workers are usually ineligible for benefits

Most employers still only offer benefits to full-time employees, not freelancers. This has made it difficult for writers to access benefits such as health care, severance pay, or even a stable income.

Denied benefits, many writers have formed unions

A crowd of union members holding signs
A Writers’ Guild of America strike. The WGA started as a union for print authors but has expanded to include digital contractors.
The lack of benefits has led many writers and freelancers to form writers’ unions. As explained by Claire Lower, a senior editor at Lifehacker, writers’ unions allow digital writers to negotiate for the same benefits as any other worker.

The rise of unionization in online publishing has given more writers a higher quality of life. In addition to benefits, being part of a union gives writers a greater sense of self-worth.

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