To journalists covering the ongoing uprisings

August 4, 2020

  1. If a comrade asks you to stop filming them, stop filming them. Generally speaking, our cameras should be trained on law enforcement and reactionaries, not to unintentionally incriminate comrades.
  2. Be cognizant of where and when is an appropriate time to livestream. Law enforcement can watch livestreams for real-time information, and you may be unwittingly helping them repress comrades.
  3. Ask for permission to film comrades and get their consent before publishing. If possible, get permission from organizers prior to the action.
  4. If you accidentally capture comrades on film, obscure their faces, tattoos, and all other identifying characteristics before publishing. Minimize the need for this by focusing on comrades’ legs and backs, if they are in the frame at all.
  5. Lock your devices with alpha-numeric passcodes. Law enforcement may be able to force you to unlock devices with your face or fingerprint.
  6. While it may be valuable to film police violence, that footage does not necessarily need to be published immediately. Make the safety of comrades your priority.
  7. Do not voluntarily give up footage to law enforcement. Ask them for a subpoena, then contact us at [email protected].

In solidarity with detained and arrested journalists in Omaha

July 30, 2020

Around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, the Omaha Police Department kettled a group of over 100 demonstrators, medics, and journalists on the I-480 overpass at the intersection of 29th and Farnam streets. After a nearly hour-long march through downtown, where demonstrators proceeded unmolested, they were two blocks away from their planned dispersal point when the police moved in to arrest them en masse.

Volleys of pepper-balls were shot into the chests and backs of peaceful demonstrators as others were tackled by scores of police armed with SWAT weapons, ballistic vests, and helmets. Pepper-balls were also fired into crowds of sitting demonstrators, some of whom were children and young teens, and multiple others were dragged away, some of them bleeding.

Fellow Workers Mel Buer, Ashley Darrow, and Kristofer Nivens, along with independent journalists Jazari Kual and Peyton Zyla, were detained with the rest of the group despite repeatedly declaring themselves to be members of the media and producing credentials or other evidence. FW Buer was also violently thrown to the concrete by an officer for continuing to film the chaotic scene.

At least two of the detained journalists recorded the police loudly declaring that their press credentials were invalid and that officers were acting on “intel that they have fake press cards.” It wasn’t until a lieutenant with the Omaha Police Department arrived on scene that four of the detained journalists were allowed to leave. A fifth journalist was arrested and charged with failure to disperse and obstructing traffic.

This egregious display of violence and aggression against members of the independent press is a clear violation of their First Amendment rights. Journalists from across the United States are being brutalized, detained, and arrested for shining a light on the violence that police perpetrate in their communities.

The Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalists Union stands in solidarity with the many journalists who risk their lives and freedom to continue covering these historic events. We will not be intimidated. We will continue to record and report on the corrupt systems of power that brutalize our communities every day.


Strike on June 19 in support of Black Lives Matter

June 12, 2020

Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalists Union members in the United States have collectively agreed to strike on June 19, also known as Juneteenth, an annual holiday commemorating the freeing of enslaved Black people at the end of the US Civil War.

On June 19, we will refrain from engaging in any sort of commissioned labor that is unrelated to the ongoing Black Lives Matter uprisings and, instead, participate in local BLM actions or provide support remotely. Acknowledging that many of our Black Fellow Workers are receiving more general assignments ostensibly unrelated to — yet inspired by — the ongoing uprisings, we are considering those BLM-related as well and thus exempt from the strike. We will also be continuing other unpaid journalistic work amplifying actions, such as social media coverage.

We ask Fellow Workers in other sections of the IWW, and workers more generally, to consider advocating for strikes, sick-outs, or similar labor-withholding actions on June 19. We also ask other, non-labor-related organizations to consider calling for a “Day of Action” or similar event on June 19 to encourage their members to get involved, however possible, in local BLM actions.

An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

Support your local Black Lives Matter uprising

May 30, 2020

There are an unprecedented number of uprisings related to the Black Lives Matter movement currently occurring throughout the United States. The Industrial Workers of the World was founded on a commitment to racial justice in 1905, and the IWW Freelance Journalists Union continues to support the working class in its struggle for that justice. Our slogan is: An Injury to One is an Injury to All.

If you are interested in getting involved in local actions, supporting community self-defense resources such as bail funds, etc., we encourage you to contact your local IWW branch to learn more about how to do so in your area. A full directory of IWW branches in the United States can be found here:

If this is the first time that you are contacting your local IWW branch, they may want some confirmation of your standing in the union for security purposes. If so, please ask them to contact the IWW FJU at [email protected].

Also, we’ve heard, repeatedly, of journalists reporting from these actions being attacked, arrested, or otherwise prevented from covering these historic events. If you are in need of any support — be it professional, legal, or even emotional — please contact us at [email protected].

To paraphrase the preamble to the IWW’s Constitution: We are building the new world within the shell of the old.

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

May 1, 2020

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].