As we prepare to head into 2023, NWU is well-positioned to lead efforts to pass several laws improving working conditions for writers, freelancers, and other precarious workers.
The Illinois version of Freelance Isn’t Free has sponsors in both houses of the state legislature. In Columbus, we have a member of the city council working on a draft of their version of the bill, which could prove an important place to test enforcement with smaller employers. And the LA City Council is poised to pass a version of Freelance Isn’t Free, though there are some changes we’re hoping to get through in the new year.
And after passing Freelance Isn’t Free statewide in New York this year, we’re working on a number of legislative efforts at the state and city level. New York City Council Members recently introduced a package of bills to improve freelancers’ lives, including limiting the use of non-compete clauses in freelance contracts and lowering the threshold for Freelance Isn’t Free enforcement to $250—which we hope will make it easier to get the threshold lowered at the state level as well.
NWU has also joined the coalition working to pass a permanent, statewide version of last year’s Excluded Workers Fund. This bill, which already has substantial support in Albany, will create an alternative to traditional unemployment for workers who have traditionally been excluded from benefits, including undocumented workers, cash economy workers, and freelancers. That’s on top of our role in the Rights for All Workers Coalition, which aims to end employee misclassification statewide.
These are all exciting bills, and passing even a few of them would substantially improve working conditions for thousands of people. We have a really strong opportunity to take a major role in these legislative fights, and to grow across the country. Let’s get this done.