Freelancer Policies

Created in partnership with the
National Writers Union

This unilateral announcement will be in place for one year from February 2021 for both Pipe Wrench and the National Writers Union. At the end of that year, Pipe Wrench will re-evaluate the conditions outlined below, and draft a new unilateral announcement with any necessary amendments offered by their freelancers, contract workers, and with the assistance of representatives from the National Writers Union. 

For the purposes of this announcement, all parties agree that freelancer is defined as any media worker providing labor and/or services to Pipe Wrench, including but not limited to writers, photographers, artists, video and/or audio producers, among others. All parties agree that “Pipe Wrench” refers to Pipe Wrench. A contractor is any media worker contributing to Pipe Wrench on a mutually agreed-upon ongoing basis. The negotiated rate is the full fee stated by the assigning or accepting member of Pipe Wrench, as stated in any contracts or email correspondence related to the freelancers’ assignment or submission. 

This unilateral announcement is the product of open discussion and collaboration between Pipe Wrench and representatives from the National Writers Union, and is intended to define the scope and terms of freelance labor in the course of producing Pipe Wrench magazine. 


  • Pipe Wrench will set clear base rates for freelance digital media workers and publicize them. 
  • All assignments accepted or commissioned will be paid on the graduated schedule outlined in the next section. Upon confirmation from the editor/editors, Pipe Wrench will issue 50% of the negotiated rate immediately. 
  • All freelance digital media workers can negotiate above the standards stated in this unilateral announcement if desired.
  • Pipe Wrench commits to providing freelancers with a written contract upon accepted assignment and paying all freelance contributors within 30 days of invoicing.  

The standard base rates are as follows:

  • Pipe Wrench will pay writers of longform articles a minimum fee of $1500.
  • Pipe Wrench will pay proof-readers and copy-editors a minimum rate of $25/hr.
  • Pipe Wrench will pay fact-checkers a minimum fee of $300. 
  • Pipe Wrench will pay illustrators a minimum fee of $300. Three major revisions can be requested prior to receipt of the final artwork. Additional fees, negotiated between the illustrator and Pipe Wrench, will be charged for any revisions requested after three sketch revisions. 

Graduated fee schedule

In the event an assignment of an editorial nature (including but not limited to text, photo, design, video, or audio) is accepted or commissioned but cannot run in Pipe Wrench as anticipated, Pipe Wrench will follow the below stated schedule for kill fees: 

  • If Pipe Wrench chooses to kill an assignment upon receipt of a first draft and/or first submission with no edits: no additional payment is necessary above the 50% already paid upon acceptance. 
  • If Pipe Wrench chooses to kill an assignment after two rounds of revisions, edits, and/or notes have been sent to the freelancer and subsequently returned to the editor for further review: an additional payment of 25% of the negotiated rate (freelancer receives 75% of the negotiated rate)
  • In the event an assignment is accepted or commissioned by an editor, and is approved for Pipe Wrench by both the freelancer and the editor, and still does not run: Pipe Wrench will pay the freelancer 100% of the negotiated rate. 
  • In the event an assignment is accepted or commissioned by an editor, and the freelancer has passed the first round of edits, and Pipe Wrench ceases to be operational for any reason and/or under any circumstances: Pipe Wrench will pay the freelancer 100% of the negotiated rate. 

Reporting costs & incidentals

  • Pipe Wrench will set clear procedures for reimbursements of any/all expenses incurred in the editorial process.
  • Upon acceptance of an assignment/submission, the assigning editor will provide the freelancer with those procedures via email.
  • Pipe Wrench will pay for any travel/accommodations booked for the purposes of fulfilling a freelancer’s accepted assignment in full and in advance of the scheduled trip.  
  • Any incidental expenses incurred in the process of the work done by the freelancer will be reimbursed as per Pipe Wrench’s stated policy, within 30 days of submitting Pipe Wrench’s reimbursement process. 

Intellectual property

Pipe Wrench agrees that each accepted submission or assignment is the sole property of the freelancer. 

  • The sale of the submission entitles Pipe Wrench to first North American serial rights only. 
  • If Pipe Wrench has the opportunity to sell or lease the submission to another publication (for the purposes of, but not limited to, a medium such as an anthology, retrospective, or similar printed and/or digital collection) the freelancer must be immediately informed by a member of the Pipe Wrench, and the decision to make the sale or approve the leasing rights will remain the freelancer.
  • The freelancer retains the right to republish the work after 90 days of the date of Pipe Wrench in a book, anthology, collection, or similar product, with original credits and acknowledgements given to Pipe Wrench. 
  • If the freelancer has the opportunity to sell, lease, reissue, or otherwise use the material first published by Pipe Wrench in another medium, including but not limited to film, audio, or television production, they retain the right to do so as per their own discretion and with original credits and acknowledgements given to Pipe Wrench. 
  • In the event that an accepted assignment is killed by Pipe Wrench at any stage of the editorial process after the freelancer’s first submission, the intellectual property is released back to the freelancer. 

Contributors on contract

  • Pipe Wrench will publicize clear rates and working procedures for regular contractors and establish a process for contract freelancer raises. 
  • Pipe Wrench commits to following the standard legal definition of “just cause” in the event a contract is terminated before the end of the agreed upon duration. 

Pitching, assigning, editing, and publishing 

  • All pitching and submissions guidelines will be clearly detailed and made public on the Pipe Wrench website. 
  • Contact information for the editorial collective will be made public, with instructions on where to direct freelancer pitches. 
  • An assignment from a Pipe Wrench editor, or a submission from a freelancer, is considered accepted upon email confirmation from the editor on the story. Freelancers will be issued a contract as soon as possible following email correspondence, and the first installment of payment will be issued as per the stated rate schedule above. 
  • Editors shall formally notify the freelancer by email of the acceptance or rejection of subsequent drafts/submissions within 30 days. 
  • When a freelancer proposes an idea for an article that has not previously come to the attention of Pipe Wrench, the editors will not assign a story based on that proposal to someone else without permission from the proposer and payment of a mutually agreed-upon fee between the editor and original proposer. Pipe Wrench will have a commitment from management and editors that freelance-generated ideas are not given to others in the editorial team. 
  • When an assignment has originated with Pipe Wrench, the Pipe Wrench will compensate the freelancer for any preliminary and/or exploratory research and/or work, including but not limited to background reporting and research. 
  • The Pipe Wrench editorial collective will provide the freelancer a final version of their work before Pipe Wrench for final review. The freelancer will have the right to make changes of any nature, within reason, before printing commences and/or Pipe Wrench occurs. 
  • In the event that the freelancer and the Pipe Wrench editorial collective cannot reach an agreement in good faith about a change in the editorial work before Pipe Wrench, the freelancer retains the right to remove their name from said work. 
  • Pipe Wrench will set clear safety and legal protections for freelancers, both abroad and at home, and publicize those procedures. 
  • In the event a freelancer experiences physical and/or psychological harm, harassment, or abuse of any nature in their course of work for Pipe Wrench, the Pipe Wrench agrees to resolve the dispute through the below stated National Writers Union grievance procedure. 

Grievance procedures

Pipe Wrench will make every effort to work out any freelance grievances on an informal basis.

If Pipe Wrench cannot work out a freelancer’s grievances on an informal basis and if that freelancer designates a representative of the NWU to meet with the magazine in an attempt to work out the grievance on the freelancer’s behalf, the process shall be as follows:

  1. Before filing a grievance, the aggrieved freelancer and/or Union representative will present the grievance to the freelancer’s assignment editor to try to resolve the matter without formal proceedings. 
  2. If step (a) is unsuccessful, the NWU shall submit the grievance in writing to the Editor of Pipe Wrench or their designated representative. 
  3. If there is no resolution within two weeks of step (b), there shall be a conciliation conference including the NWU representative, the freelancer, if possible, and the Editor or their designated representative. Pipe Wrench shall provide a response to the grievance within three weeks of the conference. 
  4. If the NWU and Pipe Wrench cannot resolve the grievance, a board shall be convened consisting of one representative of the NWU, one of Pipe Wrench, and one member acceptable to both parties. The third member shall receive no compensation from either side for participation in this board. A majority opinion by the board shall be accepted by both parties. 

The process outlined here will not be used for editorial disputes between freelancers and Pipe Wrench. All editorial disputes must be resolved through the freelancer and the Pipe Wrench. 

Freelancer agreements

Pipe Wrench will allow the National Writers Union to review and suggest changes to their standard freelancer agreement. 

If Pipe Wrench considers making any edits or changes to their standard freelancer agreement, they will notify NWU prior to implementing the edits or changes and meet with representatives to discuss. 

Notification and communication

Pipe Wrench commits to providing all freelancers basic information about and contact information for NWU.
Once a month, the NWU can request and will be provided with a list of names of all freelancers/contractors. 

If any freelancer/contractor requests information about NWU or to speak with an NWU representative, Pipe Wrench will immediately notify NWU.