I'm Not Saying Marry the Guy...

Sep 15, 2010

I was at the polls yesterday morning, along with other Freelancers Union members and staff, passing out flyers and straining the limits of my vocal cords encouraging passersby, “Vote for Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General!” I was having a great time—wearing my Freelancers Union shirt, standing shoulder to shoulder (give or take a few yards) with other volunteers from different unions. So many people smiled, cheered us, or thanked us for reminding them about the primary. In that moment, you can feel the difference you are making. You see an imaginary vote-counter tick one number higher. Then a woman came up to me and said, “I love Freelancers Union! And I'm definitely voting. But I don't like some of the candidates you endorsed. Why do you pick some of these guys?” I said, “Because they're going to support an agenda in Washington that we need to get passed.” To me, it’s that simple. Politics isn’t particularly pretty. It’s never pleasant to look at the sausage making. But I find politics thrilling because I love that an organized group of individuals is able to make change. People push for legislation. Legislation gets introduced. People elect candidates who will back that legislation. Laws pass. Why does the Freelancers Union choose the candidates it does? Because when the Freelancers Union Endorsement Committee—made up of staff and members—sat down after countless hours interviewing candidates, two questions drove the decisions: What is our current agenda? Who will get it passed? We look at how the candidate has spoken—and voted—on our issues. We discuss the candidates’ capacity to get things done. We consider their viability in the election and whether/where our support will be impactful to a race. I expect that when the woman I met gets into the voting both, she will weigh many other criteria, too. Maybe abortion rights are most important to her, or a commitment to public education, or the candidate’s personality. I don’t wish her to forget or abandon her values. But our decisions were made strictly based on who is most likely to make her life as a freelancer better, with fair taxation, protections, and being officially counted by government. But if you’re asking for my advice? Don’t forget that you’re a freelancer. Freelancers make up one third of the workforce, and if we recognize that we are in fact a huge constituency with a coherent set of urgent needs, we’re numerous enough to change our conditions. And this morning, with all 20 of our endorsed candidates winning their primary races, I can see there are many New Yorkers who put action and results at the top of their criteria. Keep your eyes on the prize, and let’s mobilize around leaders who are going to help us achieve the legislative change we need. sara_signature.jpg

Sara Horowitz

As the founder of Freelancers Union, Sara has been a voice for freelancers for over two decades.