The other day, a blog I follow linked to this article:
Freelancers Union Tackles Concerns of Independent Workers
It's about how the Freelancers Union, based in New York, provides access to health insurance -- the biggest concern for most freelancers -- for its members. Especially interesting was the part of the article about the union's health care center, which charges no co-pays and provides a more unified approach to primary care.
At first I was confusing the Freelancers Union with the National Writers Union, which I had looked into many years ago, when I was starting my career as a freelance writer. They are very different, however. The NWU is for writers, while the Freelancers Union is made up of all kinds of freelancers -- writers, artists, Etsy sellers, nannies, you name it. The NWU charges as much as a few hundred dollars a year, depending on how much you earn as a freelancer, whereas the Freelancers Union doesn't charge dues (though they do charge for their health coverage). Obviously a lot of writers will think, "I'm going to go with the free one!" but the NWU also offers more advocacy for writers, while the Freelancers Union stays out of trying to negotiate for their members. On the flip side, it seems that the NWU only offers health benefits to local (New York area) writers, whereas the Freelancers Union has made more of an effort to find freelancer-friendly health insurance outside their immediate area.
After reading the article and researching the difference between the two organizations, I actually signed up for the Freelancers Union (and got another badge for my websites, yay!). I do plan on joining the NWU someday, but with my current situation it's probably not as useful (read: worth the cost) until I start freelancing full time again (which, like I said, will happen someday).