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Week of 2.15.08

Benefits Denied

Corporations are taking benefits from workers by calling them "freelancers."

Temporary workers and independent contractors make up nearly a third of the U.S. workforce, and represent a growing asset to companies who rely on freelance flexibility. But corporations are using the designation "freelancer" to avoid paying health care and other benefits, even though many of these workers put in the same hours as their covered counterparts. NOW looks at the effect of this tactic on the lives and personal economy of freelance workers.

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We also examine an Enterprising Idea to help independent workers manage their personal needs, including benefits, networking and investment help. Freelancers Union, founded by former labor lawyer and MacArthur grant recipient Sara Horowitz, provides a safety net for over 60,000 workers, but how is it viewed by the traditional labor movement?

This is part of NOW's series on social entrepreneurs called "Enterprising Ideas"

Related Links:

Freelancers Union Website

Gawker: Coverage of "permalancer" issues