The Freelancers’ Union ultimately serves three purposes: allowing freelancers (of all varieties) to function as a community and network, forming groups to find lower priced insurance and to advocate freelancers’ needs to policymakers.
Wow. That’s a mouthful. What you might really want to know, as a freelancer, is what can this group do for me, and what would I need to do in exchange? I’m speaking from the point of view as someone who’s joined up, tempted by the free membership and promise of cheap insurance, both of which are given.
The Freelancers’ Union is free to join, which is nice for all us freelancers’ on a tight budget. Affiliation with the organization actually gets you a number of perks (although some are far easier to get if you live in New York, where the union was founded): the ability to purchase cheaper insurance, a listing in the Freelancers’ Yellow Pages, access to the forums, discounts at certain stores and educational opportunities.
You’ll have to take it upon yourself to be active, though. All those forums and other opportunities require some involvement on your part to be useful. The cost here is simply your time. I think it’s worth it, but do you?
The insurance holds the big allure here — it’s almost impossible for a freelancer to get decent insurance without indenturing the first-born. But I think the Freelancers’ Union’s ability to act as an advocate is extremely important. The number of freelancers keeps growing, as the idea of any number of professions needing to be tied to a desk to work decays. Our needs must be represented to the government, if they are to be met.