FSP is Electing its 2021-2022 Organizing Committee

The Freelance Solidarity Project is now electing its 2021-2022 organizing committee. All members of FSP can vote for up to eight candidates who will, over the next twelve months, be responsible for: communication between chairs and members, guiding conversations and facilitating open discussions, and managing key areas of the project, such as strategy, research, and events, among others.

If you have not yet signed up for your membership, click here—all members will receive an email with a link to vote before October 22nd, 2021.

The candidates are listed below, and once elected will hold their positions for a one-year term. Guidelines for their roles can be reviewed here.

Maria Callier


Bio: Have been a broadcast and print journalist and currently work as a consultant in the field of technical writing. I have written newspaper articles, magazine articles, press releases, and a variety of technical documents. I am also an experienced actor and voice over artist and an active member of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Radio and Television Artists.

Statement: I’m running because I believe in professionals having more rights than I have had as a freelancer. I once lost my freelancing position as a journal writer because I had to take time off following my father’s death! I became weary of being so vulnerable, so I stopped freelancing to work a salaried position. Great benefits minus the freedom! I would like to work as a Communication Chair because of my  experience working as a member of the press (radio, TV, and print) and being active on multiple social media platforms. 

Alexis Gunderson


Bio: Per my go-to byline bio, I’m a TV critic and audiobibliophile, but I suppose that can be expanded for our purposes to also include the facts that I’m a Wyoming expat living in the DC area, I’ve got a couple mouldering degrees in Russian language & literature, and in the other half of my precarious freelancer life, I try to save kids a lifetime of math-based trauma by convincing them numbers are just another way to communicate their big ideas.

Statement: In large part I’m running because when it’s not too depressing to try and make a go of it as a freelancer of any sort in a media industry intent on collapsing all around us, it’s plain infuriating, and FSP has honestly been the brightest and most consistent light I’ve seen in the dark tunnel in awhile. I love what we’ve done, in just these past few years, in terms of fomenting greater solidarity amongst a group of workers who seem to struggle, on an almost existential level, to see themselves as workers OR a community who might even have a right to solidarity (see: way too many of my fellow entertainment/arts journalists during the PROAct disinfo wars earlier this year), and I am excited about the prospect of helping build that solidarity up. 

In terms of what I can, personally, bring to the next OC, I’ve got all the basic things like ideological dedication, spreadsheet-based organizational skills, and a readiness to be a cheerful inbox pest whenever the need might arise, but also I’m…not in New York. Which, if we really want to make FSP the kind of broadly freelance-representational powerhouse it has the potential to be, we will keep needing more of us (not) to be. To that end, I’ve also just coming off a handful of years running a just-for-kicks internet-based scavenger hunt for a network of book clubs from across the US, Canada and the UK—I’m ready to apply those skills to something much more meaningful.

Abigail Higgins


Bio: I’m a freelance journalist in Washington, D.C. with over a decade of experience writing for publications like The Washington Post, The Nation, Al Jazeera, and Foreign Policy.

I write about poverty and inequality, gender and labor, and healthcare access. Recently I’ve been covering the role of private equity in evictions and how home health care aides and sex workers are fighting their working conditions. 

I lived in Nairobi for ten years where I covered climate change in Kenya, youth movements in the Congo, and LGBT healthcare in Tanzania.

When I’m not writing I’m on long bike rides, gardening, or reading with my cat Moses.

Statement: I’m so energized by all that FSP has already accomplished in fighting for better working conditions for freelance media workers while also building solidarity with workers around the world. I’m excited by the prospect of continuing and building off of these efforts as a member of the 2021-2022 Organizing Committee.

I’m a member of the FSP’s The Nation Organizing Committee and the productive meetings we’ve held with management, informed by conversations with other Nation freelancers, as we negotiate a unilateral announcement that will improve working conditions for Nation freelancers and elevate standards across the industry is such a clear example of what organizing can accomplish. As a member of the OC, I’m eager to help with more unilateral announcements.

I was really inspired by the communications work FSP spearheaded when it came to misinformation about the PRO Act— it’s what put FSP on my radar! I think that supporting efforts to pass the PRO Act is some of the most important work that FSP can do right now and I’d love to keep finding new and creative ways to do so.

I’ve helped organize a couple FSP happy hours in D.C. and I hope to continue building freelancer community. I’m also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalist Union, so I’m eager to build ties with other unions and freelance groups while expanding FSP’s membership and reach.

Freelancing can be a solitary existence and organizing helps make it less so!

Elaine Meyer


Bio: I am a freelance writer and part-time content specialist at the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation at University of Chicago. As a writer, I focus on issues at the intersection of health, work, and technology, and have written for outlets including Dame Magazine, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, Salon, and Yes! Magazine, as well as for universities like Weill Cornell, CUNY, and NYU; and the tech company Doist. Previously, I worked in public health communications for NYU and Columbia University, as a reporter for Law360 and the Carnegie and Knight Foundations’ News 21 initiative, and as a paralegal at the Federal Trade Commission.

Statement: I’m excited to run for the OC and appreciate the conversations with current members that helped steer here. I’m interested in either the role of legislative chair, community/membership engagement chair, or secretary.

As someone who combines media writing with content marketing and a part-time job, I am excited to represent members who are supporting media work with other freelance content work or part-time jobs, and help us explore what organization and advocacy looks like for us. As a writer who covers work and labor, I’m passionate about how freelancers can gain work-life balance in an industry where people frequently burn out. Finally, I have a good organizational mind, having managed projects over my career.

As an FSP member for over a year, I worked on the campaign around the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and am eager to help lead our union’s continued efforts behind the legislation, including educating freelancers outside of our union about the benefits of union membership. I could also support the Freelance Isn’t Free as it expands, including to explore whether it’s of interest to freelancers outside of New York and LA. I’m a Chicago delegate to NWU delegate’s assembly and have begun working with Paul Bowman on connecting FSP members in our area, so if I were to work in the membership role, I’d bring the orientation of someone outside one of the major regions.

Chris Randle

Bio: I’m a freelance writer who’s contributed essays and criticism to places like Hazlitt, Pitchfork, and the New York Times Magazine. I’ve been involved with FSP since the initial discussions in 2018, and I believe the union has become a model for organizing precarious workers, which describes more and more of us every day. 

Statement: FSP’s Political Education reading group has taught me so much about the history of radical organizing, how past struggles rhyme with ours. Now that we can actually host events outside Zoom again, I’d like to focus my efforts on those: Screenings, panels, and parties too, because learning about each other is equally important. It seems like a perfect way to expand the union’s membership, to show any new sympathizers that their labor doesn’t have to feel alienated. Thank you for considering me!

Olivia Schwob 

she/her, they/them

Bio: I’m a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and researcher, plus sometime graphic designer and illustrator, two years deep into freelancing. Before, I was an editor at a tiny publication focused on the culture and politics of cities. I’ve always been a Jack-of-all-trades, but that tendency is now a survival skill, as making a living off the work I’m most passionate about (deeply researched [slowly written] essays) seems basically impossible. Doubtless many reading this can empathize. I can usually be found in Prospect Park, the library, or the hardware store; to unwind I go for nighttime walks, watch corporate espionage movies, and paint portraits of my friends. 

Statement: Working as freelancer can be so isolating and discouraging, but solidarity—alongside an intelligent power-building strategy—changes the game. FSP membership has motivated me to stand up for myself at work, in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise, thanks simply to the feeling of being shoulder-to-shoulder with y’all. Essentially, I’m running for OC to help spread that feeling to as many people as possible. 

I’ve been most involved with the Legislative committee to date, and if I’m elected to the OC, I’d hope to continue to channel the majority of my engagement toward that. Due to my professional background and involvement in NYC DSA over the last few years, I have a decent grasp of the political landscape in New York City and State, where a large proportion of our members and freelance media workers are located and where we’re engaged in several ongoing campaigns. 

I’d also hope to help develop our role within the broader labor movement. I see FSP as a reaction within one sector to a trend towards informalization that affects the whole economy (and that really freaks me out!!). The PRO Act campaign was so exciting because it allowed us to use our particular capabilities within media to build power among all workers. I’d love to play a role in making inter-sector solidarity a more ongoing and intentional part of our work, connecting FSP to other labor organizations, and expanding our membership to freelance media workers beyond journalists and writers. 

Lauren Stroh


Bio: Lauren Stroh is a writer from Lake Charles, Louisiana who lives in New Orleans. Her work has appeared in Oxford American, The Nation, n+1, Art in America, and Bookforum, among other publications. She has worked as a translator and editor for presses in both the US and Mexico, and in 2017, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Paraguay.

Statement: I first joined FSP at the end of 2020, but I have been an active member over the past year, working as a member of the bargaining committee for FSP’s new Letter of Agreement campaign at The Nation and contributing to monthly strategy meetings. This experience has been pivotal in establishing my career, learning about the media industry (especially as a writer living outside of NYC), and building greater solidarity with my freelance colleagues. Because I believe in the value and importance of this work, I’d like to continue organizing with FSP in a formal and dedicated capacity. I am excited to run for one of the Strategy and Legislative chairs.

Eric Thurm


Bio: As a writer, I’ve freelanced for a variety of publications for almost a decade, primarily as a TV critic, and wrote a book about board games and their history as political tools for NYU Press. I used to run an event series called Drunk TED Talks as a sort of freelance side hustle, until TED threatened to sue me. I’m actively involved in Central Brooklyn DSA, and have organized with a few different lefty Jewish groups in New York, where I live.

Statement: FSP has had a lot of success in the last year, especially in our support of the New Yorker staff union and the multiple letters of agreement we’ve secured. Each of these wins has helped build our power, and will contribute to the most important thing we can do: improving the working conditions and lives of our members. 

In theory, that should make it easier for us to get even more wins and build more power, and so on. (What a good cycle!) But the challenges facing us remain the same—the decentralized nature of our membership, the lack of one singular employer we can organize against, and a dearth of ways for members to be actively involved in helping us get those wins and see concrete improvements. 

I think that there are a few ways to combat these challenges: building relationships with unions engaged in active struggle (like The New Yorker and now IATSE), working to connect members facing problems with the same employers, and, above all, getting membership comfortable with trying different forms of organizing. This work is often hard and very annoying, but I think it is the best way for us to build power and get what we want!

I’ve done a decent amount of events work before (including as an events working group head during the first year of FSP), and am happy to take that on, in addition to some strategy work. I’m also happy to bother people a bunch to make sure we are doing the things we want to be doing. Be warned, you might be one of those people!