One hundred thirty five years ago, on September 8, 1882 in Union Square in New York CIty, an estimated 10,000 people marched in a celebration of workers, organized by NY's Central Labor Union.
Five years later, President Grover Cleveland established Labor Day as a national holiday on the first Monday in September.
Today, most people in America think of Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer, a time to have one last BBQ, or do some last-minute back to school shopping.
Ironically enough, freelancers, who are the fastest-growing segment of workers in the new economy, don’t usually get to enjoy Labor Day as a paid holiday. For many freelancers, Labor Day is either just another day of work or an unpaid one because a client’s office is closed.
All the more reason, in a year that organized labor has faced major challenges, for freelancers to take a moment on Labor Day and think about what it means to them, and what it would look like if freelancers stood together as those 10,000 workers did a century ago.
New organizing for the new labor force
Today, one third of the workforce is comprised of freelancers working across all industries. We represent a vast, diverse constituency, which is our strength. Freelancers Union is harnessing technology to access resources, help improve their lives, and protect their work.
This year Freelancers Union members in NYC worked to pass unprecedented legislation to protect freelancers from getting stiffed. We stood together at City Hall, testified at hearings, and campaigned online.
This blog is a tremendous resource for freelancers looking to improve their business. It’s a platform for freelancers to share advice, ideas, and connect with the network. Give back your knowledge to the freelance community by contributing a post.
It’s why we launched the Freelancers Union app, which connects freelancers with lawyers who understand freelancer issues. And that’s just the start, we’ll soon be expanding to new industries, which will bring freelance professionals new work, as well as making sure freelancers who need help with their business have a freelancer-friendly resource at their fingertips.
Freelancers need to stand together
But we’re only as strong as our numbers and our commitment. We need you to help build this movement, to stand up with your fellow freelancers and help form a constituency to be reckoned with. We’re working with our allies in labor, and we all have to stick together.
The new economy needs a new labor movement. Celebrate Labor Day by standing up with your fellow freelancers.
Nathan Bransford is the author of the writing guide How to Write a Novel and the Jacob Wonderbar series. He offers freelance book editing and information to help authors navigate the book publishing process at blog.nathanbransford.com.