10 Benefits the Freelancers Union Offers
10 Benefits the Freelancers Union Offers

10 Benefits the Freelancers Union Offers

Labor unions provide workers with the ability to negotiate changes in their working conditions.  Many labor unions that most people know are there to protect workers who are considered to have an employee/employer relationship, and this has left those considered freelancers and contracted workers with very little protections.  Who will fight for this large group of often overlooked individuals? 

Luckily, there is a union out there for freelancers. 

Who Are They?

The Freelancers Union has been in the press since 2002 for advocating for the rights of freelance workers.  Here’s what you need to know about what they offer:

#1 Memberships

They offer free lifetime memberships.  Sign up is very simple, and as a lifetime member, you are emailed important updates and useful information.  According to the website, memberships consist of 5 main things: insurance access, community, education, advocacy, and a useful blog.

#2 Insurance

The insurance offered by the Freelancers Union covers 6 different categories:

  • Dental
  • Disability
  • Health
  • Liability
  • Term Life
  • Vision

To take advantage of the insurance plans, you must be a member of this union.  Although much of the insurance offered is tailored toward those in New York, freelancers outside of that state can benefit as well.  To see if insurance is offered for your location all you would need to do is fill out the information for a free quote. 

Insurance can be filtered by preference of whether you would like to shop on-exchange, off-exchange, or temporary.  For those of you who are not familiar with this terminology I will define those for you.

  • On-exchange means the insurance companies and plans filtered will show only those that are available publicly.  In some cases, if you are eligible for financial assistance you could benefit from shopping for insurance plans on-exchange.
  • Off-exchange means that you can shop for plans through companies that are not available publicly.  This could mean more options in the long run.
  • Temporary plans allow you to purchase insurance through certain companies for a short, specified timeframe.  As an example, there are some insurance plans that allow you to get insurance for only 3-6 months. 

#3 Community

The community offered by the Freelancers Union is called SPARK.  There are several chapters, and each one is in a different state.  The website states that SPARK is currently in 20 locations.  The purpose of SPARK is to allow freelancers to learn, grow their businesses, and network.  The group meets the first Wednesday of every month. 

Each month holds a different topic and opportunity for freelancers and entrepreneurs to learn.  Prior to Covid-19, meetups were in person at specified locations, but now the groups prefer to meet virtually.  Meeting online proves to be an advantage for those who may normally have difficulty attending the in-person meetings.  Registering to attend SPARK virtual meetups are usually free.

There is another community designed to help freelancers called the Freelancers Hub.  This community hosts workshops, does community events, and provides assistance to New York Freelancers.

Although the Freelancers Union has a presence in other states, those in New York can take advantage of the Freelance Isn’t Free Law (passed in 2017).  Education is provided about understanding the law and the rights of freelancers under it.  Although this law has not been enacted in other states, it is the hope of the Freelancers Union to grow the moment and see more laws put into place to protect freelance workers from non-payment. 

The website even provides an “Organizer’s Toolkit” for those outside of New York who wish to see change in their area and create their own Freelancers Union community.

#4 Blog

What I like about the Freelancers Union is that they allow their own members to submit content to be featured in their blog.  There are a variety of topics to choose from when viewing blog post categories.  Scroll through to read articles pertaining to topics such as taxes, budgeting, landing clients, insurance, stories, and more.

#5 Discounts

Members of the Freelancers Union are eligible for discounts pertaining to health, education, business, software, and more.

#6 Contracts

The website links freelancers to a contract creator.  This is all done through an app by AND.CO which allows users to create an account for free.  Inside the AND.CO account freelancers and entrepreneurs can do the following:

  • add projects and manage them
  • create invoices
  • create proposals
  • create contracts
  • create recurring payments through subscriptions
  • manage time with time tracking
  • track income and expenses for tax purposes
  • keep up with receipts with the “Shoebox” feature

This is all a great bargain for a free account.  It is possible to upgrade the account and pay a monthly or annual fee if needed.

#7 Financial Resources

Other useful resources that the website has pertain largely to finances and budgeting.  This includes knowledge of government relief, student loan assistance, banking, and retirement.

#8 Reporting Clients

Although the Freelance Isn’t Free protections are in New York, freelancers and other contracted workers that are outside of New York are able to get resources and report bad clients as well.  There is a client complaint form that can be completed and submitted so that someone from the Freelancers Union can reach out.  Those in New York can file a claim for non-payment, discrimination, harassment, and more.

#9 Web Directory

To increase the visibility of freelancers of color, the Freelancers Union has added the Black Freelance Web Directory.  Everyone is welcome to share and browse the contents of the directory regardless of being a member of the union or not.  Freelancers are also able to add themselves to this directory as long as they are a member of the Freelancers Union (a member ID is required). 

Upon viewing the Black Freelance Web Directory, freelancers are listed by name, location, skill or profession, industry, client type, portfolio or website, and years of experience.

#10 Donations

The Freelancers Union occasionally accepts donations through its non-profit organization called Working Today.  This organization uses the donations to help struggling freelancers.  The Working Today Organization also has a merchandise shop on their website that sells Freelancers Union gear.

There is so much that the Freelancers Union has to offer, and their influence is slowly spreading to other states in the US.  If you want to utilize resources or become a member, feel free to check out the links to their main site and non-profit site:



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