FSP Strategy Summit: The Sequel

Freelance Solidarity Project (FSP) members reconvened on December 4 to build upon our early October summit takeaways, delve deeper into 2023 priorities, and collectively envision the kind of life we want for freelancers and precarious workers everywhere. 

We welcomed both New York City-based members in person and virtually from around the country, and were once again lucky to have organizer Megan McRobert facilitate the half-day meeting. Early on, Megan encouraged us to take the long view: Five years ago, she reminded us, FSP did not exist. Yet as of December 2022, we have taken significant strides toward improving working conditions and raising media industry standards, as well as building greater bonds between freelancers. While we have significant work still to do—particularly when it comes to fighting for change in solidarity with all contingent and precarious workers, not limited to media freelancers—Megan prompted us to imagine where we could be in five years if we channel our individual and collective energies into a few specific areas. 

One major goal of our follow-up summit was to brainstorm specific ways we could address union priorities identified in October. These included improving communications within the union; strengthening FSP’s new member onboarding and engagement process; and increasing diversity among members, union leaders, and workers with whom we organize in solidarity, to name a few. 

To make the most of our time together and come away with clear action items, we narrowed priorities down into three central themes as voted on by participants: legislation, diversity, and internal communications and governance. For each theme, we spent time catching each other up on where we are now; reflecting on obstacles and challenges; and brainstorming tactics to move us forward. Once the group generated a number of potential action items, we then voted on where we should focus our efforts in the new year. 

Within the legislative category (find a link to Eric Thurm’s update on FSP’s legislative work in this newsletter!), top-ranked action items included building solidarity with all precarious workers, developing education initiatives to inform both members and non-member freelancers about various active campaigns, and strategizing around Medicare for All. (The future we envision definitely includes health care, among other basic needs.)

For our second priority—diversity, equity, and justice—members aligned on a number of action items, such as creating mutual aid opportunities and greater material support infrastructure in support of both media workers from marginalized communities and workers in a range of precarious industries; doubling down on strategies to raise freelance rates; building and strengthening relationships with allied organizations, particularly those led by and advocating for marginalized communities, across and beyond media; diversifying union leadership; and expanding ways to engage with the union on a volunteer basis, given very real barriers to active participation (e.g. limited time, economic precarity, and burnout from multiple jobs).

In thinking through our third priority, strengthening internal communications, much of the discussion centered on figuring out how and where to convene for informal, unstructured conversation and resource-sharing (Discord? Slack? TBD!), reimagining political and labor education resources for members, and improving the onboarding experience to plug members into different threads of union work.

We wound down our sequel summit on an actionable note. Participants shared one tangible thing they would do before December’s out to move us one step closer to our goals. And of course, we did not conclude the day without reminding each other of the radical power of rest and celebration to stay energized for the many pivotal fights ahead. Here’s to a recharged 2023—and to all we will get done together.