The days are shorter; the wind is colder; and the New York Marathon is over. But we are just heating up! Here at Freelancers Union, we know that ya’ll are always making things happen at co-working spaces and studios and kitchen tables across New York State. The Advocacy team has been seeking the best way to tap into that greatness, and I think we might have landed on a gold-medal winner: the Monthly Member Meeting. The member meetings are monthly forums for New York-based members and staff to exchange ideas and, together, craft creative solutions that meet the needs of, and build protections for, the 21st-century independent workforce. At the meetings, Freelancers Union members will engage in training and strategy sessions; assume responsibility for tasks and volunteer leadership roles for the Advocacy Department; and strengthen their community, while increasing our collective capacity to win our campaigns for things like fairer tax laws and access to benefits and protections. Our November member meeting (try saying that ten times fast!) this week was a rousing success. Your fellow freelancers came together to talk about our pending legislation in Albany to protect freelancers from deadbeat clients. We know we need to ramp up our campaign, and increasing public accountability to the needs of freelancers is key. Attendees at the member meeting got the inside scoop on the current status of our legislation and are forging ahead, alongside Freelancers Union staff, on a project to articulate the rights of freelancers and the responsibilities of their clients in this new era of independent work.** Powerful stuff, let me tell you.** The ideas were member-generated and member-approved. Moving forward, participants will also have the chance to tell us what they think future member meetings should look like. Want to volunteer to host a coffee hour in your home for fellow freelancers rather than gathering in our conference room? Come to the member meeting to meet your freelancer compatriots. Prefer a daytime meeting over an evening slot? Attend the meeting and let us know what works for you. Been reading our emails and have a splendid idea on how to name and shame deadbeat companies, but don’t want it to get lost out there in the interwebs? Share it at the member meeting. Get involved on your terms, not just on ours. I recently had a new volunteer tell me, “I never volunteered with you before because I was never asked.” Maybe he was waiting for the same invitation you’ve been waiting for since the day you saw our snazzy subway ads. So, allow me the pleasure of extending a formal invitation: I’d love to see you at our Monthly Member Meetings—will you come? You can’t shape the movement if you don’t show up—and we really hope you do! In solidarity, Kaitlyn

P.S. You can ask me your questions via comment to this post (so everyone can benefit!) or email me at knewman@freelancersunion.org