Moving America Forward

Two Leaders in Labor Rethink Social Safety Nets in a Freelance Economy

October 14, 2014
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Two Leaders in Labor Rethink Social Safety Nets in a Freelance Economy
Sara Horowitz, founder of Freelancers Union Richard Dinardo
As part of our Up-and-Comers series, Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Sara Horowitz, founder of Freelancers Union, discuss the needs of independent workers.

When Sara Horowitz founded Freelancers Union 20 years ago in New York City, her initial members had one clear need that stood out amongst the rest: Healthcare.

“I thought, oh my God, how boring is that? Let’s just get that done and move onto the next issue,” says Horowitz,  the daughter of a labor lawyer and granddaughter of a former vice president of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. However, she quickly discovered that the health care needs were just one example of what she saw as the lack of a safety net that millions of Americans were coming to terms with. “So that became the central core piece of what we do.”

Twenty years after its founding, the Freelancers Union has around a quarter of a million members and has just launched a national healthcare program for freelancers living in any state.

As part of our Up-and-Comers series, Ai-jen Poo, director of  the National Domestic Workers Alliance, sat down with Horowitz to discuss labor issues in a 21st century “gig” economy.

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