Workers helping workers
Two disparate pieces highlight ways in which independent workers are getting no help from the Man---and helping each other. From the site Journalism.co.uk comes a story about freelance news photographers. Increasingly, they are being asked to produce video for which the newspaper acquires all rights, alongside stills, for which they retain resale rights. Cameramen for TV and movies also produce video under work-for-hire agreements, but their hourly union-mandated rates are about double what the newsies get, plus expenses. So basically, the way business is done is changing, but the model for compensation isn't changing to match--sound familiar?
The New York Times small business section, always fun to read, has a mouthwatering piece about a nonprofit incubator in San Francisco, La Cocina, that helps women without assets start their own food businesses. They have their own stall at the famous Ferry Building Market, producing everything from tamales to chocolates to vegetarian sushi. A related column lists a bunch more, if slightly less hands-on, networks and incubators especially for female entrepreneurs: Ladies who Launch, WomenandBiz.com, Wild Women Entrepreneurs, Women Business Owners, eWomenNetwork, and Damsels in Success. I have been having this feeling lately that it is especially incumbent upon independent workers to contribute to a community like this, because we depend in turn on the resources of others.