The Freelance Solidarity Project is hosting a special election this month to fill two vacancies on our Organizing Committee. One person will help Emma Whitford with Communications, and the other will work on Events with Michael Baginski.
Co-chairs are responsible for communication between chairs and members, guiding discussions in general meetings, and managing important areas of our project, like special events and rapid response on social media channels.
The candidates are listed below. Please vote for one in each category. Once elected, they will serve out the remainder of the current term, through October 2020.
If you have not yet signed up for your membership, click here—all members will receive an email with a link to vote before February 21, 2020.
Communications Co-Chair Candidates
I’m running for communications co-chair because getting involved in FSP has been one of the best things to happen to me recently, and I want to help out in any way that I can. Having the opportunity to work with like-minded media workers is something I’m deeply grateful for, and a big part of why I’ve chosen to run for this position. I’m a fairly new member—I joined FSP when it became a part of the National Writers Union a few months ago—but I feel really strongly about wanting to step up and get more involved. I have a lot of ideas for both intra- and inter- union communications, and am already a part of the communications working group. I think my experience running a Discord server of around 100 people would help in setting up a reliable server for intra-union communication. I also have a lot of spare time to dedicate to this position since I’m currently self-employed (I’m now realizing it’s kinda embarrassing to admit I have too much free time, but I’m leaving that in) but if I were to pick up a day job or get a full-time position, I would still dedicate enough time to perform to the best of my abilities. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you consider me as communications co-chair. Have a great day!
Bio: Hi, my name is Olive Rae Brinker and I’m a 24 year old artist from New Jersey. I’m a self-employed cartoonist at the moment, working on a comic called Rae the Doe, which is a newspaper-style comic about the life and times of an anxious transgender lesbian who also happens to be a deer. I’ve also worked on animations, amateur game development, writing, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I also got a BFA in Computer Art and Animation from SVA in 2018.
Opening my business with under $500 12 years ago, and deciding to expand five years ago since that expansion. I have added six brick and mortar locations, Gown, to be the most significant business on the west coast in my field. Recently I also expanded and opened three completely separate companies outside of my original expertise all experienced exponential growth, one even reaching international growth with foreign recognized corporations. I attend regular high ticket marketing, development, and leadership seminars, and am respected and followed by some of the largest marketers in the world including but not limited to multiple Facebook advisors, the founder of the largest marketing seminar in the country and hold numerous certifications specializing in all forms of growth. I am a free agent, completely self-employed. I have no motivation to join a committee for any personal gain but purely in hopes of sharing my expertise, opinions, and experience. I have dreams of better serving my community, the city where I live, and where my kids go to school. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone more hardworking and dedicated than I am. I am outspoken and have experienced life from every angle from being poor/homeless to owning multiple properties, and businesses spread not only across numerous counties but countries as well.
Bio: I grew up state-raised as a youth and spent my early adult years homeless. I opened what is now the most significant business on the west coast on my industry, doing over $4m in sales just last year with no assistance from outside sources. I have a history of philanthropy and hard work. I have served my clients, employees, and charities. I feel it’s time for me to start serving my neighbors and community; this seemed like the right place to start.
I’ve been on all the comms calls thus far, despite living on Pacific Time and having to sneak out of work, hah. I don’t know juuuuuuuust how much I can provide without physically being in New York, but I’m really eager to get more involved in FSP, and I know that I have a few advantages being out here in LA (AB5, time zone differences for breaking news). I’m trying to volunteer more of my time & challenge myself in labor, and I think my experience as both a writer and a meeting facilitator qualify me to give this a shot. Cheers, solidarity forever!
Bio: I’m a 26-year-old organizer and writer based in Los Angeles. My day job is at Rotten Tomatoes, but I’ve written for Chicago Tribune, The Ringer, Fader, etc. In LA, I’m working with the NOLYMPICS coalition, volunteering with the Bernie & Nithya Raman campaigns, and holding a comms leadership position w/ DSA-LA!
The first time I got a small raise at a media job, my boss told me to keep it to myself. He’d said the same exact thing to several of my other coworkers, which we learned one night while talking at a bar about how little money we all made. Soon after, we organized our first union. In the years since, as a writer and editor in other unionized newsrooms, I’ve helped build strong campaigns that won legal support for members whose jobs and immigration status were threatened by the Trump administration and voluntary buyouts that secured unprecedented severance and healthcare. We did those things by talking to each other, clearly and honestly. I tend to think of that kind of work—defining our terms, figuring out how to better understand each other, and building consensus across messy issues—as 90 percent of organizing. (The other 10 percent is shared Google docs.) That’s what I want to do as the Freelance Solidarity Project’s communications co-chair: make sure we always hear each other out internally, even when we disagree, and to make sure non-members know what we’re up to so they can join in. Thank you for reading this and let’s party, etc.
Bio: I’m an editor and organizer based in New York.
I’m running for the communications chair because I have some experience in the area and want to contribute in any way I can. As I mentioned, I am a shop steward for the union at my other job, at MoMA PS1. During our last contract negotiation, I organized our communications. When we reached an impasse in our negotiations, our unit organized a rally outside the museum and ended up placing a number of stories about our struggle with the museum including in the New York Times. At the end of our successful negotiations, the museum––surprisingly––admitted that the press attention is the only thing that moved the needle.
My communications role involved talking with journalists and the public, as well as keeping our members up to date with the progress of the negotiations. Active communications made a big difference. I found that keeping members up-to-date with the events of our negotiations was a great tool for fostering solidarity, people appreciate being informed and the communications person becomes a location for questions. I hope that I can contribute similarly for FSP, building solidarity by keeping member and the public informed about what we are doing, our successes, and our ongoing projects. Thanks for reading!
Bio: Hi everyone, I’m Rob Kaiser-Schatzlein, a freelance journalist who grew up in Minnesota. Today, I live in New York. I write about economics, the city, and the media. When I am not writing, I work in the art world, installing art in museums and galleries. I’m a founding member and shop steward of the union at MoMA PS1, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30.
Events Co-Chair Candidates
Jamie Lauren Keiles
I owe my survival in this industry to the relationships I’ve built with other writers and editors. For many years, this took place informally, outside the context of a union. As I’ve watched the Freelance Solidarity Project grow—thanks to the hard work of colleagues and friends—I’ve become increasingly convinced that a more formalized kind of solidarity, with low barriers to entry, is our best shot at attaining quality of life that is both good and stable enough to persist over time.
As events coordinator, I will help translate this ethos into extremely fun events that do not feel like an obligation to attend. You will NOT want to bail. The parties I help throw will be full of hot geniuses with good politics. When I’m not helping throw parties, I will help plan other events (reading groups? pancake breakfasts?) that cater to the fellowship needs of union members who dislike parties. It is my belief that the union must become an integral part of our lives, otherwise it will die. As events chair, I will strive to make solidarity feel effortless, fun, and fulfilling!
Bio: I got into freelance writing in 2015 and have been freelancing since then in various capacities. I am an avid defender of freelancing as a lifestyle; at the same time, I believe that today’s freelance media market is inherently exploitative. I am currently a Contributing Writer at The New York Times Magazine (permalance) and an adjunct faculty member at The New School. I also travel periodically throughout the country, delivering a business of freelancing workshop to journalism students and MFA programs. I live in Ridgewood.
I am running for the FSP events coordinator position because I want to see the soul of journalism prosper in the digital age. I have done so by working with groups at a regional, state, and national level to establish dense network to establish bridges within the freelance community, both as a volunteer organizer and a freelance journalist myself.
With the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), I have served as a the secretary of the national freelance board since 2018, following the issues facing the freelance community such as contractor misclassification, delays of payment for freelance contributors, and the professional—and ethical—social media use among freelance journalists. At the SPJ’s national convention, I, in collaboration with my fellow freelance board members, ran our own freelance programming. I have also worked alongside the Minnesota SPJ to ensure coordination between Minnesota-based freelancers and the national freelance board. In the Twin Cities, I organized a local freelance meetup to bring freelancers together to cross-pollinate ideas and skill sets and promote relationships between independent journalists and local venues.
As a freelance journalist and a volunteer organizer, I have necessary knowledge and experience to serve effectively serve the National Writers Union. As your events co-chair, I would be honored to put both to use so that we freelancers can mobilize on behalf of our interests and those of our allies.
Bio: Tyler Newman is a freelance journalist based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has covered a broad range of topics in his time as a freelancer, from the shared underground origins of craft beer and cannabis to the geopolitical significance of the Lebanon to the stability of the middle east. His work has been published by outlets such as Public Radio International (PRI), the Growler, Leafly, and Storify. He also runs his own independent publication, Dark Market Economist, where he and other freelancers experiment with digital storytelling techniques to shed light on stories that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day.
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