NASW Grievance Committee

The NASW Board has voted to establish a freestanding Grievance Committee to represent the interest of NASW members who feel they have been subjected to objectionable behavior on the part of publishers, contractors, government agencies, or any other entities that employ the services of science writers.

The NASW Board has voted to establish a freestanding Grievance Committee to represent the interest of NASW members who feel they have been subjected to objectionable behavior on the part of publishers, contractors, government agencies, or any other entities that employ the services of science writers.

Complaints can be made by any NASW member working in a freelance capacity, whether or not that individual is a full-time freelancer.

Complaints from members that fall under the purview of the Grievance Committee can include:

  • excessive delay in payment
  • use of the writer's work in a way that goes beyond the scope of the original contract
  • serious ethical misconduct

The Grievance Committee will consist of three members, one of whom is the chair of the Freelance Committee, or an individual appointed by the chair, and another of whom is a member of the NASW Board of Directors. The three members will choose which of them will serve as Grievance Committee chair. The members of the Grievance Committee will review the member's complaint, as well as the contract, assignment letter, or other written documentation between the member and the publisher or other hiring entity. If the committee members deem the complaint worthy of NASW action, they will do the following:

  • Write a letter from the Grievance Committee outlining the concerns and suggesting a means of redress
  • Submit the letter to the NASW officers for review, including consultation with an attorney if the officers consider that necessary
  • Send the letter, after it is approved by the officers (with approval from the Grievance Committee of any changes suggested either by the officers or by the attorney), over the signature of the Grievance Committee chair and the NASW President, to the publisher or employer in question
  • Follow up with a phone call, approximately one week later, from the Grievance Commitee chairperson

If this fails to remedy the situation, the Grievance Committee has the option, after consulting with legal advisors and the NASW officers, of listing the complaint in a section of the publications database now being developed for the NASW web site. It also has the option of referring the NASW member to a list of recommended lawyers previously generated by the Grievance Committee, who will have agreed beforehand to represent NASW members at a discounted rate, to be paid for by the member, not by NASW. (Note: recruitment of attorneys for this list is still ongoing, and will be part of the initial work of the Grievance Committee.)

The members of the Grievance Committee are:

Nov. 17, 2005

ASA Science Communication Awards

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