NOW On PBS: Freelancers Unionize For Benefits


Temporary workers and independent contractors make up nearly a third of the U.S. workforce, and represent a growing asset to companies who rely on freelance flexibility. But corporations are using the designation "freelancer" to avoid paying health care and other benefits, even though many of these workers put in the same hours as their covered counterparts. This week, NOW looks at the effect of this tactic on the lives and personal economy of freelance workers.

We also examine an Enterprising Idea to help independent workers manage their personal needs, including benefits, networking, and investment help. Freelancers Union, founded by former labor lawyer and MacArthur grant recipient Sara Horowitz, provides a safety net for over 60,000 workers, but how is it viewed by the traditional labor movement?

This is part of NOW's series on social entrepreneurs called "Enterprising Ideas".

At NOW's website, learn more about the issue, read personal stories of freelance workers, and watch recent more NOW reports of America's hard-pressed workforce.

I've been freelancing for several years in order to be able to be at home with my kids. Luckily, we have health insurance through my husband's employer because a private account would be completely cost prohibitive. While my situation is extraordinarily lucky, it is gratifying to see a recognition that freelancers and temp employees deserve benefits as well.


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