Later this afternoon, members of the Freelancers Union are set to descend on the steps of the New York State Senate in Albany with “the world’s longest invoice.” They’re speaking literally (we checked).
Last month, the organization started a site to solicit outstanding bills from web developers, app designers, SEO consultants, and every other manner of contractual helper. (Sadly, it looks like the $2,012.00 entry for “dildo polishing,” has since been eliminated.) The grand total, which started at around $4 million, is already up to $15.9 million. And members are taking a print out with them upstate to “unfurl” down the steps at 2.15 pm.
The stunt is part of an attempt to get the State Senate to pass The Freelancer Payment Protection Act (S4129/A6698), an unprecedented bill that would, “finally give independent workers- 1/3rd of the U.S. workforce- Department of Labor protections when companies refuse to pay them,” says the Union. Fulltime workers are protected by the DOL, but independent workers, who are stiffed an average of $4,600 a year, have two options: suing or walking away.
The bill passed the Assembly last June and has 24 sponsors in the Senate (seven Republicans, 17 Democrats), but is still being considered by the Labor committee.
“For the last several years, the struggling and transitioning economy has forced more and more New Yorkers to become freelancers in order to earn a living, pay their bills, and raise their families,” Speaker Sheldon Silver, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement, “It is disturbing that so many of them are not receiving payment for their work.”
Better hope whoever had to stand by the copier and staple together this miles-long invoice is promptly compensated . . . or else!