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This week, Freelancers Union held its second focus group with our friends at New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The EDC is an interesting and wide-reaching city agency charged with helping foster economic development throughout NYC’s five boroughs. They do this in a whole host of areas: by helping small business access low interest loans, managing major development projects like the Staten Island Ferry development, starting co-working spaces, and establishing business improvement districts throughout the city. One of the major reasons we’ve been excited to partner with EDC is they have a solid track record on helping create jobs at both big multi-national firms and at mom and pop shops on your street. One of the obstacles we’ve faced in that partnership was explaining what exactly how their resources and policies can better support independent workers. To demonstrate the diversity and professionalism of our members and freelancers citywide, we called in 25 members to sit for two separate focus groups with EDC. Over the course of a few hours, members described with passion their love for the work they do and the challenges they face in a climate and economy that is struggling. One of the major obstacles described was the lack of a place for freelancers to turn when a client or company doesn’t pay them. This issue is the subject of our new campaign, Get paid, not played. In light of the campaign and these focus groups, we hope this is just the beginning of the conversation and partnership with EDC. We’re working on a multitude of potential projects and programs that we think will benefit our members and tackle the unpaid-wages issue that affects so many freelancers. We look forward to announcing some of them in the coming months. (If you’re interested in helping chart the course of the Get paid, not played campaign, sign up here.)