New York, October 3 – Four years after Freelance Solidarity Project’s 2018 founding, members met on Sunday for an energizing summit to discuss our progress, outline 2023 strategic goals, and shape our union’s future direction.
The half-day hybrid meeting, facilitated by organizer Megan McRobert, welcomed New York City-based members in person at the new NWU offices in Lower Manhattan and via Zoom, with members joining from Florida, Illinois, and Maryland among other places.
Following a brief overview of FSP’s roots and current structure, led by founding member Haley Mlotek and NWU President Larry Goldbetter, we celebrated our recent wins and engaged in candid reflection on room for improvement. Members expressed pride in our union’s growing community of media workers, the public unilateral announcements we have reached with several publications to raise freelance labor standards, growing momentum around the passage of Freelance Isn’t Free legislation, and our ongoing work around rate transparency. We also acknowledged the need to introduce a more sustainable organizing committee and member engagement structure, along with creating methods for long-term enforcement of UAs.
Megan then prompted us to consider the limitations and benefits of organizing an atypical group of workers, along with FSP’s role as an organizing hub for freelancers within the broader labor and media landscapes. We engaged in a collaborative power mapping exercise, and the resulting power maps will guide us as FSP continues thinking about the relationships we want to build with individual people, publications and media companies, staff and other unions, and labor organizations for maximum impact.
In one of the day’s most energizing exchanges, each member shared three goals they hope to see FSP focus on in the year ahead. The resulting list was robust, and included developing more UAs, enriching member communications, and organizing in active solidarity with fellow gig and precarious workers across industries. Megan offered some useful ways to approach building consensus around this ambitious rundown of ideas. In a follow-up summit, FSP’s Strategy Subcommittee will revisit our goals in more granular discussion to assess their feasibility, required resources, and relative importance and make a clear action plan for 2023.
We concluded our summit with a forward-looking question: Cut to a year from now—what does FSP hope to be celebrating? The resulting responses included a legislative victory that lifts up contingent workers; a sustainable leadership structure that keeps our union running while minimizing burnout; a future in which a majority of media workers know what FSP is and does; and doubling the percentage of actively engaged members. It’s this bright future that inspires us to build upon the meaningful strides FSP has made since its founding—and to take our efforts to improve working conditions across media (and beyond!) even further.