Outside Magazine agrees to pay $150,000 in overdue invoices

Collective action by workers yielded results this week with Outside magazine agreeing to pay more than $150,000 in late invoices owed to their vendors after receiving a demand letter from the Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalists Union (IWW FJU). The New Mexico-based magazine has promised to issue the payments within the next week, a significant victory in an industry where workers are often subject to one-sided and arbitrary treatment from their clients.

This development follows months of organizing by the IWW FJU. In June of 2019, the union released a survey to its members and the wider community of freelance journalists, collecting information about problems in the industry. Respondents identified Outside as one of the slowest publications when it comes to paying freelancers, and the IWW FJU followed up on this insight with dozens of conversations with contributors. Through this process, the union learned that freelancers were collectively owed over $100,000 for articles published more than 30 days prior. The IWW FJU approached Outside with this information on April 24; six days later, we received the publication’s response.

The IWW FJU will be following up with Outside contributors to ensure that they are paid within the timeframe agreed to by the publication. We hope that Outside’s commitment reflects a larger change in the publication’s payment practices moving forward. We would also like to thank everyone who helped with this campaign, especially the freelancers who shared their experiences with us, enabling this success. We encourage other freelancers facing significant delays in payment to reach out to us at [email protected].