Blog Post

Freelancers Union to New York State: Stop letting independent workers get stiffed

Citing a “deadbeat epidemic” that’s robbing independent workers of thousands of dollars a year, Freelancers Union is asking consultants and freelancers of all stripes to band together for their #GetPaidNotPlayed campaign protesting the unpaid invoices that plague freelancers. The aim is to spur the government to take action to protect the growing ranks of independents workers.

The campaign takes several forms, including “The World’s Longest Invoice,” an online tally of all the money outstanding to independent pros. According to a recent Freelancers Union survey, last year that sum amounted to an average of $4,600 for each of America’s 35 million or so freelancers. In May this massive invoice will be presented to New York State lawmakers in Albany to urge them to take action. The Freelancers Union hopes the final bill will exceed $1,000,000 to reflect the scale of the problem.  Coworking spaces and freelancing websites also participated in a day of action yesterday to raise awareness.

The solution to freelancers’ payment problems is the passage of the Freelancers’ Payment Protection Act, a bill currently in committee in the New York State Senate, which could be used as a model for such legislation elsewhere, according to Freelancers Union and campaign supporters. “It’s model legislation that gives freelancers the same protection as ‘traditional’ employees – they can file wage claims for the money they’re owed and get protection from the Department of Labor. We are SO CLOSE to passing the bill and creating a historic precedent in New York that can be replicated throughout the country,” Althea Erickson, advocacy and policy director for Freelancers Union is reported as saying by Shareable.

What’s the alternative to reforming a  legal framework which isn’t set up to handle the rise of independent work? For a heart-rending story of how terribly the current system can fail independent workers, check out the tale of Anthony, a creative freelancer in the New York area, whose battle to get payment for a six-figure invoice is recounted in DeskMag. It ended with him facing the threat of foreclosure and epic, time-consuming legal wrangling.

Do you have unpaid bills to add to the World’s Longest Invoice?

Image courtesy of Flickr user kozumel.

3 Responses to “Freelancers Union to New York State: Stop letting independent workers get stiffed”