Tuesday, August 30, 2011

U.S. freelancers need to be counted properly,
union demands

The Freelancers Union in the U.S. is demanding that the Bureau of Labor Statistics do a better job of counting freelancers. The Union says independent workers make up 30% of the U.S. workforce; the BLS says its 4%, according to a story carried by the blog WordCount. The item quoted a Bloomberg Businessweek article that reported that because of lack of funding, the BLS hasn't done a tally of so-called "contingent workers" since 2005. The Freelance Union is asking the bureau to make its language more inclusive when it tabulates the ranks of permanent, full-time freelancers and other self-employed independent workers.
In the Bloomberg Businessweek article, Freelancers Union founder and founder and executive director Sara Horowitz argues in favor of tossing out the term “contingent” worker and categorizing people as independent based on their work, not whether they think of themselves as business owners.
The Freelancers Union, which calls itself "a federation of the unaffiliated" and says it has more than 160,000 members, notes that despite all that freelancers contribute to the American economy, they are taxed more than traditional employees, can't access affordable insurance and have limited access to unemployment insurance, retirement plans and help with unpaid wage claims. 

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