• Community, Lifestyle

I left my heart in San Francisco (and San Jose, San Mateo, and Los Angeles)

California's freelancers have got it going on. Last week, two of us Freelancers Union staffers traveled through the glorious state of California to get a better lay of the land and the passions, needs, and concerns (you can take our survey, too) of our 7,000 Golden State members. We spent the days meeting with really helpful people and organizations from different industries and labor movements, from the Actors Fund (they offer impressive services!) in Los Angeles to Working Partnerships (also, wow) in San Jose. In the evenings, we held member networking events at coworking spaces: Causecast thanks to Netsquared L.A., Blankspaces , and Citizen Space. Pizzas were gobbled, business cards were traded, and we had fantastic conversations about Freelancers Union and about our California members' needs. Some of the biggest issues were no surprise: access to health insurance (and boy is California insurance a bird of another feather) and financial obstacles like screwy tax policies and not getting paid. Our last two days in California were spent inside the mind-blowing expo center building at Maker Faire, whose 2009 theme was Re-Make America. We were there to push for re-making the social safety net. Nestled between robotics clubs and a vintage pinball museum, and bolstered by six enthusiastic member volunteers, we talked to millions (or at least thousands) of engineers, artists, teachers, and makers of all stripes about Freelancers Union and our summer membership drive in Cali. We signed up a couple hundred new members, too. You can see from this sheet we hung at our Maker Faire booth what kinds of freelancers we were meeting. Check out more photos from the various California events in our Flickr pool. maker-faire-tally-sheet.JPG