I am a union person.

I have belonged to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) for as long as I’ve been a freelance journalist.

The NUJ has got me out of a few scrapes over the past 20 years. Helped me claw back fee due from a national newspaper. Supported me when a publication dissed my rep.

I do not begrudge my union dues because they insure me for future grievances and in the meantime help some other poor bugger.

I know my history – without unions, workers would still be working a 12-hour day. (As many still do).

On the 22 and 23 October 2010, my local branch, the Bristol NUJ, asked: What’s the blogging story?

Research conducted for the union shows there are 20,000 workers in digital new media in the Bristol area.

Note: the term blogger here includes those creating online content.

As a union gal already paying union fees for my printed work, I would LOVE my online work to be covered too.

Several made the point that bloggers certainly help journalists: with their original and brave research, said Iqbal Tamimi; and with technical expertise, said Tomas Rawlings.

From a union’s point-of-view, thousands of unregulated online workers must be a dream. Both the NUJ’s fortune and its collective bargaining power would swell magnificently.

Mind you, some journalists are nervous of bloggers  – many of whom work for nothing. So bloggers could be seen as undermining the profession.

Leaving that underlying tension aside, I wondered as a blogger whether union membership – being accredited by a professional body – might give visitors more confidence in a site.

Visitors could clearly see I subscribe to the NUJ Code of Conduct (although there is nothing stopping any writer adhering to it, I found out).

However – said the devil’s advocate in my mind – is not the point of today’s web that a blog is authenticated by its comments and the transparency of the blogger?

And HOW would the NUJ assess who is a digital worker, especially if he/she is an unpaid blogger?

(There is a precedent for a blogger becoming an NUJ member.)

Bloggers are a notoriously independent breed. Does belonging to a union undermine that spirit?

In response, Sarah Ditum pointed out the days of “happy anarchy on the web” may be numbered – digital workers would be wise to have union support, including access to legal training.

As you can see, this fascinating topic raises a host of questions.

Here are a few more.

Bloggers, can you think of situations where you might have welcomed union support? Even to combat the isolation of being freelance?

Or is a union anathema to bloggers?

Do bloggers need a union?

What do you think?