As a fairly recent arrival to NYC from the Connecticut shoreline, I thought I understood East Coast humidity. That is, until I spent the month of July here in the concrete jungle, working my first few weeks as Organizer/Volunteer Coordinator at Freelancers Union.
The last two weeks of July were killer and nearly made history- just a few degrees shy of being the hottest month on record ever. Any time I wasn’t sluggishly lounging in front of a fan I spent with the Freelancers Union Advocacy team, putting even more heat on New York State candidates for our endorsement interviews.
Many dedicated members braved the oppressive temps of subway stations to visit our Brooklyn office and sit face-to-face (in the conference room stocked with cold sodas!) with representatives from various key races. Fortified by coffee, tasty sandwiches, and brie, they launched into conversations with incumbents and aspiring politicos alike, probing their views and their ability to lead on issues relevant to freelancers: unpaid wages, unemployment insurance and health insurance.
We all met to prep and get primed for the interviews, going over our most important questions for candidates. Some Freelancers Union members contributed with impromptu questions and stories of their own in the interviews, enriching the candidate's knowledge of independent worker issues. And, when Governor Patterson called a last-minute special session in the capital for the state budget, stealing away several of our potential endorse-ees from their scheduled interviews, members proved continually creative and flexible (classic freelancer traits, no?) and made the sweaty trek into our office to conduct interviews by conference call.
Just like last year, the recommendations members made over those six days informed the final endorsement decisions made by the Endorsement Committee. We’re confident that we’ve partnered with some excellent candidates to ensure that our issues make it all the way to the floor of the State Capitol.
Many thanks to the members that participated! In a place like New York, where it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, it’s satisfying to know some of your future state representatives first-hand, and to know that they know you, too. Our next step? Turning out voters for the Freelance Slate, because Albany will surely be invigorated by this punch of freelancer power.