Non-profit

Freelancers Union

This is a logo for Freelancers Union. (link)
Location:

BROOKLYN, NY

Tax ID:

20-3491772

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $539,758
Expenses: $1,334,991
Assets: $14,183,904

The Freelancers Union is a left-of-center “alt-labor” advocacy organization based in New York City. The organization participates in left-progressive advocacy initiatives and provides insurance benefits for freelance workers. The organization also sponsors meetups and other networking events for freelance and contract workers. Sara Horowitz, a former union organizer and co-founder of left-wing think tank Demos, founded Freelancers Union. [1]

The Freelancers Union is not an actual labor union and does not negotiate employment contracts or engage in other forms of collective bargaining. The Freelancers Union claims 490,000 members across the United States, concentrated in New York City; membership does not require any dues payment. [2]

Background

Left-of-center organizer Sara Horowitz founded the Freelancers Union in 1995 after Horowitz was unable to access health and retirement benefits during her time as an independent contractor at a law firm. [3] Horowitz later joined the National Health and Human Services Employees Union, and upon noticing that independent contractors could not access typical employee benefits, Horowitz founded the Freelancers Union under its original name of Working Today. [4]

In 2001, Working Today launched its Portable Benefits Network, which provided insurance at group rates for freelancers. In 2003, Working Today rebranded as Freelancers Union. [5]

Programs

Freelancers Union membership is free. The organization generates revenue by selling insurance services to its members, including health, dental, life, disability, vision, and liability insurance. [6]

At its founding, the Freelancers Union bought insurance products from Blue Cross and Blue Shield at group rates and resold the plans with a markup to Freelancers Union members. In 2009, the Freelancers Union set up its own for-profit insurance company, the Freelancers Insurance Company with $17 million in loans and grants from the Ford Foundation, NYC Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Prudential. [7]

In addition to running its insurance programs, the Freelancers Union sponsors freelance networking events across the country and has thus far established freelance networking hubs in 25 cities. [8]

Advocacy

The Freelancers Union also engages in policy advocacy. The Freelancers Union has supported New York City legislation to end double-taxation for freelancers earning less than $100,000 and legislation to implement a tax credit for freelancers earning up to $150,000. [9] The Freelancers Union also lobbied for a New York City bill entitled “Freelance Isn’t Free,” which establishes a process to allow freelancers to collect from clients who will not pay them and guarantees freelancers the opportunity to demand written contracts from clients. [10]

The Freelancers Union has also pushed for legislation to allow independent workers to purchase health-insurance at group rates and has expressed skepticism at government-run single-payer healthcare proposals. [11] [12]

Leadership and Funding

Sara Horowitz is the founder and former executive director of the Freelancers Union. [13] As of 2020, former New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn) is the executive director of the Freelancers Union. During his time as a councilman, Espinal co-sponsored the Freelance Isn’t Free Act. [14]

In 2017, the Freelancers Union reported $1.1 million in revenue and just under $1 million in expenses. Most of the Freelancers Union’s 2017 revenue came from insurance sales. [15]

The Freelancers Union has received grants from both New York City and the state of New York. The organization has also received grants from a number of left-of-center grantmaking organizations, including: [16]

References

  1. Watson, Michael. “Conservatives, Embrace Big Labor at Your Peril.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, March 4, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/conservatives-embrace-big-labor-at-your-peril/. ^
  2. “About Us”. 2020. Freelancers Union. Accessed September 28. https://www.freelancersunion.org/about/. ^
  3. Abrahamian, Atossa. 2012. “The “I” In Union”. Dissent Magazine. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-i-in-union. ^
  4. Abrahamian, Atossa. 2012. “The “I” In Union”. Dissent Magazine. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-i-in-union. ^
  5.            Abrahamian, Atossa. 2012. “The “I” In Union”. Dissent Magazine. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-i-in-union. ^
  6. “About Us”. 2020. Freelancers Union. Accessed September 28. https://www.freelancersunion.org/about/. ^
  7. Abrahamian, Atossa. 2012. “The “I” In Union”. Dissent Magazine. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-i-in-union. ^
  8. “About Us”. 2020. Freelancers Union. Accessed September 28. https://www.freelancersunion.org/about/. ^
  9. Abrahamian, Atossa. 2012. “The “I” In Union”. Dissent Magazine. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-i-in-union. ^
  10.   Pofeldt, Elaine. 2020. “New Freelancers Union Head Plans To Prioritize Gig Worker Legislation”. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/elainepofeldt/2020/01/29/new-freelancers-union-head-plans-to-prioritize-gig-worker-legislation/#2eb5242c15d0. ^
  11. Abrahamian, Atossa. 2012. “The “I” In Union”. Dissent Magazine. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-i-in-union. ^
  12. Abrahamian, Atossa. 2012. “The “I” In Union”. Dissent Magazine. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-i-in-union. ^
  13. Pofeldt, Elaine. 2020. “New Freelancers Union Head Plans To Prioritize Gig Worker Legislation”. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/elainepofeldt/2020/01/29/new-freelancers-union-head-plans-to-prioritize-gig-worker-legislation/#2eb5242c15d0. ^
  14. Pofeldt, Elaine. 2020. “New Freelancers Union Head Plans To Prioritize Gig Worker Legislation”. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/elainepofeldt/2020/01/29/new-freelancers-union-head-plans-to-prioritize-gig-worker-legislation/#2eb5242c15d0. ^
  15. Form 990. 2017. Ebook. Guidestar. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2017/203/491/2017-203491772-0ff50d14-9O.pdf. ^
  16. “About Us”. 2020. Freelancers Union. Accessed September 28. https://www.freelancersunion.org/about/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2008

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $539,758 $1,334,991 $14,183,904 $21,575,699 N $0 $0 $7 $85,573
    2015 Dec Form 990 $3,745,258 $5,365,582 $14,417,598 $22,269,262 N $0 $3,600,650 $45 $57,809 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $8,475,998 $8,603,196 $19,941,062 $26,172,401 N $5,000 $6,322,361 $1,625,554 $188,429 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Freelancers Union

    408 JAY STREET SECOND FLOOR
    BROOKLYN, NY 11201-5150