As freelancing becomes more ubiquitous, representatives at both the national and local levels have started to take note.

Urban areas are the latest “test kitchens” for figuring out how to protect independent contractors from a lack of job security, health insurance, paid sick days, on-the-job training, and retirement options – while still allowing independent workers the freedom and flexibility we crave.

In shining a light on delivering worker protections and making freelancing more sustainable in the long term, local communities lead the way in enacting change on a larger scale.

America’s oldest political magazine, The Nation, invited NYC city councilman Brad Lander to write an essay on progressive urban change as part of the “Cities Rising” series.

The series centers on local urban municipalities making change and impacting daily life in a way that big government can’t.

Like most city-dwellers, Councilman Lander is no stranger to the convenience the gig economy offers, but he’s quick to point out that the on-demand workforce remains vulnerable.

As a first-step toward making the future of freelancing better, Councilman Lander cites his work on the #FreelanceIsntFree campaign.

He notes that 8 out of 10 freelance workers report being cheated out of wages they’re owed. And yet, unlike traditional employees, there is little recourse for freelancers to recoup the lost sums.

Councilman Lander points out that, ”When conventional employees are cheated out of wages, the state labor department can enforce and win double damages.”

The goal of the #FreelanceIsntFree campaign is to provide freelances with similar protections.

Read Councilman Lander’s essay here, in which he also cites movements on behalf of independent contractors happening in other urban areas.

Ready to be part of the change now?

Join the #FreelanceIsntFree Campaign!

A new soul and media geek, Laura writes about sustainability, community, poetry and pop culture. Find her @Pennyscientist or on Freelancers Union.