Thursday, November 15, 2007

Freelance union members number 400,
says organizer

The Canadian Freelance Union drive may be coming to life, though the sign up so far is about 400, according to the key organizer. That's not much more than the union was claiming in February. During an exchange on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers (TFEW) listserv, Michael OReilly admits that he has been disappointed by the uptake.
My greatest fear in all this is that the market is right; that freelancers really do deserve to make $24,000 per year (on average). The lacklustre response to the CFU membership drive, added to my past 15 years experience of fighting for the rights of writers, lead my to the occasional dark night of the soul where I wonder if "they" are correct. If freelancers are so unwilling to fight for their rights, then perhaps the market really is right.

Ah well, back to the trenches...
OReilly said he hoped to make some announcements soon, including about a benefits package (that is affordable and real), a member advocacy service, a hiring hall, and an inaugural conference. Freelancers can sign up for $25, which is put in escrow pending the official launch.

Here are a series of earlier posts about the CFU.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question: How does this freelance union work if you're an editor who also freelances? Theoretically, if I was part of the union as a writer and the union went on strike against the company that I work for as an editor, I would be stiking against myself. No? Should editor/writers abstain from becoming part of the union?

12:27 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

I'll let the organizers speak for themselves, but I don't think that striking is uppermost in their minds; more negotiating fair and reasonable payment from a position of strength. I suppose that the hypothetical you pose could come about, but it seems more likely that collective bargaining (as it is in most other unions) results in an agreement 95% of the time.

12:44 pm  

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