On the same day that law came into force, the Freelancers Union launched the Freelancers Union App, a smartphone application that connects workers with attorneys specialized in the field. The law, and the app, seek to solve an important problem for the poor work of freelancers. Many of them are unable to pay the costs of litigation. As a result, lawyers prefer not to pursue them. With the “Freelance Isn’t Free Act,” Horowitz hopes to have found a solution to the delay or failure to pay, one of the plagues of self-employment and occasional work without any social and social security protection.
How does your app work?
We organized lawyers who join our union in a freelance guild. The app allows anyone who needs finding available attorneys in real-time, based on the skills they require. When a worker is screwed, he goes online and finds a lawyer immediately. The latter is stimulated to answer because, if he wins the case, he is paid on the basis of the double penalty mechanism. In addition, it is not necessary for the Freelancers union to act by itself, the mechanism can also be initiated by other groups.
Why do you consider this law to be a victory?
It is for those freelancers who lose money, and in any case a potential buyer who refuses to pay, in addition will have to pay the lawyer’s fees and civil damages. The law provides for the freelancer to receive a written contract, describing the work to be done, the rate and method of payment and the date by which it is to be carried out. For us, it is a victory because it has allowed us to find a tool against exploitation. Every year, on average, a freelancer loses $6,390 in missed payments in the United States.
What are the categories of workers concerned?
As freelancers, we mean workers who open an individual company, independent contractors, term contractors, day-laborers, workers with a second job, and self-employed. For years, we have been discussing this form of work that represents a third of the workforce in the United States. These people pay taxes, but they almost never have access to traditional social security designed for wage-earners and have to deal with very unstable income. For this reason, the New York law, where a large number of freelancers are concentrated, is very important.
In the United States, mutualism is considered a tool to address the problems of this workforce. How do you see it?
We are literally trying to teach our world a mutual strategy. Our economies are mainly based on the free market and public state intervention. Around the world, social emergencies are emerging that are not met by any of these factors. Mutualism is a response to a missing element in the economy. A mutual help strategy that emerges when groups get together and recognize that they have a need and try to satisfy it. Freelancers are the predominant group in the new job market and can make demands that the government and the market cannot meet. The collective intellectual conscience is not yet ripe, but our twenty-year experience says we need to get organized, laws, and organizations such as SMart and Freelancers Union.