June 21, 2007

Freelancers Union?

I have a secret. The last few weeks I have been thinking about getting a 'real' job again. It's been five years since I left the confines of corporate life to go out on my own. Not one second have I missed any part of the agency life. When I have a full roster of clients, I get enough socialization. At my age, in my chosen profession, 'best friend' potential in the office isn't all that likely as I'm at the old end of the age spectrum. Moms w/o Happy Hour--that would be my company shirt.

But after my recent surgery, I find myself wanting a safety net--a corporate daddy to make sure I'm taken care of when times are tough. This rolls around my head bashing into the realization that when times were MOST tough and I nearly died 9 years ago, my employer thanked me with a layoff and then tanked. So yeah, I know, there is no such thing as security. But for wo years running we have gone over our two thousand dollar a year deductible because of medical bills. Jenna's tonsils last year (still owe several thousand on that), and no my recent medical woes (add on another few thou). AND WE PAY each month as much as our mortgage for the privilege of owing thousands more. Our current BCBS plan has a 2K per year deductible, and after that, they only pay 70 percent. Five hundred per person per year pharmacy deductible.

Add to that the 150 per month i'm supposed to pay for life insurance policies (sometimes have it, sometimes don't), the no dental, the no 401K, and the government with its hand out too, and it's a wonder anyone with a family and their own business can afford to stay in the game.

And then the net steps in.

I was on linkedin today and connected through another former Ketchum colleague who connected with me to yet another colleague who exchanged emails with me. She pointed me this article on the re-emergence of unions as a way for independent workers to organize and have access to benefits we don't have access to on our own.

I had no idea this was going on, had never heard about the Freelancer's Union, but I'm off to investigate. If anyone else has information, or is a member, or knows what's going on currently around the organizing of independent workers to have access first and foremost to affordable healthcare, I would love to know.

I will tell you that George belongs to the AFM, and I've already reviewed the benefits there. They suck. The insurance is not the kind that doctors take, and the so called drug benefits are a joke. You can go to walmart and get $4 generics without having to pay $50 for a plastic card that health providers shake their heads at when you show it.

I hope the Freelancer's Union does better. We deserve more than scams and afterthoughts when it comes to benefits if we pay to join these unions. What's the real story? I'm all ears.

More soon.


update: The Freelancer's Union has a blog.