Becoming your own boss is the greatest gift one can give themself this Christmas. While millions of Americans are celebrating self-employment this holiday season, threats against flexible, independent work could put a damper on spirits.
Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, union organizations and labor activists recently announced a “‘Pass the PRO Act’ Holiday Tour” to urge passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
Their goal is to pressure Senate holdouts, namely Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, Mark Kelly and Mark Warner, to get on board.
The bill, if passed, would abolish right-to-work laws, make employment conditional on union membership and misclassify independent workers as employees under a proposed ABC test, among many proposed provisions.
Who seeks to benefit most from the PRO Act? Powerful labor union special interests.
According to a May 2021 report from the Institute for the American Worker, the PRO Act could “give unions additional resources to use on things like political activities and lobbying, potentially allowing them to put $3 billion per election cycle.”
That’s disconcerting for workers, who are increasingly rejecting union jobs.
There’s good news, however: a recent Forbes Tate poll noted that an overwhelming number of Americans — including Democrats and independents — oppose the bill and its radical overhaul of the labor market.
I launched my freelancing business five years ago because it allowed me to liberate myself from the 9-to-5 and not settle for an unfulfilling mid-level career. As a full-time independent contractor, I can attest that there’s nothing more gratifying than determining work output, maintaining a Rolodex of clients, and negotiating contracts without a mediator. Best of all, there’s the potential to be prosperous when pooling from multiple revenue streams.
A growing share of the U.S. workforce is engaging in freelance work according to various measures.
Upwork’s 2021 Freelance Forward report, which studies the U.S. independent workforce, found that the number of freelancers remains constant at 59 million, or 36% of the workforce. In comparison, the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) findings revealed union workforce participation stands at a paltry 10.8%. Total economic output by freelancers also increased by $100 million to $1.3 trillion in 2021.
According to the Labor Department, 500,000 workers became solopreneurs — bringing the total number to 9.44 million unincorporated self-employed individuals. That’s a six percent increase — the highest documented since the Great Recession of 2008.
A recent Pew Research poll found 16 million of 150 million total workers are self-employed, with participation starting to return to pre-pandemic levels. And there are some positive indications for the freelance economy’s long-term viability: 10 million workers are slated to enter this arrangement under the “Great Resignation.” That should be celebrated, not quashed.
American workers, especially highly-skilled ones, are pursuing freelance options because they desire not to limit their career potential. Upwork found that freedom and flexibility were two top draws to freelancing. “Freelancing offers professionals a chance to be in control of their careers in a way that cannot be matched by traditional employment. This is likely a reason why more skilled professionals are flocking to freelancing in 2021,” their 2021 report noted.
Having control of your work situation, especially in these uncertain times, is an attractive feature of this burgeoning workforce. American workers should mull freelancing options without interference by the Biden administration and their Big Labor friends.
Americans need not fear the Great Resignation, for it’s inspiring new entrepreneurs and risk-takers who positively add to the U.S. economy. It’s encouraging to see more workers, including fellow millennials, ditching traditional jobs by gifting themselves freelancing this holiday season.
Don’t let the Big Labor grinches dampen the freelancing cheer. May we continue to witness continued growth in this growing sector in 2022.