The latest fight for freelancer rights is happening right now

Sep 03, 2021

Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894 to celebrate the immense gains of the labor movement. After decades of struggle, union members at the time had won protections - among other things, the 8-hour workday and the weekend - and respect for the workers who made the economy run.

101 years later, Freelancers Union was founded to work for the same recognition for independent workers, a fight we carry on to this day. Freelancing has many amazing benefits - that’s why more people choose it as a career path every year - but it still lacks many of the basic protections that employees take for granted.

The most basic of those protections? Getting paid for your work. 71% of freelancers have dealt with nonpayment from a client who reaps the benefit of the freelancer’s hard work but never pays for it. And freelancers have lost countless hours to chasing late invoices, sending follow-up after follow-up, worrying about appearing pleasant enough to win more work while being stern enough to get results.

The Freelance Isn’t Free Act, passed in NYC in 2017, enshrines the right of freelancers to be paid for their work in law. To get this landmark legislation passed, Freelancers Union members in New York shared their stories, lobbied their local representatives, and showed up for their community.

It’s our goal to bring these same protections to every city in the U.S. In January of this year, Minneapolis enacted their version of the law. And right now, Los Angeles is on the verge of doing the same. Two weeks ago, City Council members voted to draft a version of the bill that will address the needs of L.A. freelancers. It's a huge step forward! When the draft bill is complete, it will go up for debate before going for a final vote.

Now is the time for Los Angeles freelancers to get loud. Every member of the City Council must know that their freelancer constituents demand these protections. They need to understand the damage that nonpayment can do to an individual. If you have a nonpayment story, share it! If you have a specific concern that you want to make sure the law addresses, let us know!

And to work with us to bring Freelance Isn’t Free to your city, email advocacy@freelancersunion.org.