Los Angeles, June 28 – Yesterday the City Council Committee on Economic Development and Jobs voted unanimously to have the City Attorney draft an ordinance to make Freelance Isn’t Free the law in LA. The new law will take effect on July 1, 2023, giving the City time to fund staff and enforcement mechanisms, and will coincide with the start of the fiscal year.
This follows the passage just weeks ago of the New York State Freelance Isn’t Free. Like the NYC and NYS laws, this will give freelancers the written contracts we deserve and payment within 30 days of completing the contract.
NWU and our partners in the Freelancers Union, the National Press Photographers Association, the American Photographic Artists, the Authors Guild, the Graphic Artists Guild and more, attended the public meeting and gave testimony before the committee.
We are especially grateful to City Council member Blumenfield, who authored the bill, our partners in the Graphic Communication Conference of the IBT, Jim Smith, the Political Director of IBT Local 396 in LA, and the LA County Federation of Labor, who all through their support and expertise into this effort. We would not be here without them.
The good news is the bill will lower threshold for being covered by the law, from $800 in NY to $600. Actually, the committee agrees with us that the $250 threshold that we are requesting would cover many more freelancers, in fact, more than they can handle. They will start at $600 with language in the bill to review the threshold after a year with the possibility of lowering it.
Once the City Attorney drafts the new law, sometime after the summer recess, we will still have work to do. The current proposed language would only cover freelancers who are work within the city limits of LA. We challenged this at the hearing and the committee took note of it. Similar to the minimum wage law, an LA-based company cannot pay a lower rate to a driver who’s regular route is outside the city limits. Also, if out-of-LA freelancers remain unprotected, it could serve as an incentive for bad players to only use out-of-area freelancers, costing LA freelancers a lot of work.
These victories are significant and can put millions of dollars in the pockets of freelance workers across the country. Since 2017, the NYC law has already collected millions of dollars for thousands of freelancers.
But at least as important as the money, is the ability to build a much bigger and more powerful union. We are working on a campaign that we hope will launch soon to do just that. Let all your freelance friends and contacts know what we’re doing and ask them join the union.