Welcome to advocating for your livelihood 101! Whether legislators are proposing anti-independent contractor laws in your state or you’re concerned about the federal legislation, here are the basics of advocacy.
- Learn all you can about the issues.
- Join with other independent contractors to stay on top of the issues and share best practices. See the state page for resources for finding these groups.
- Write op-eds to explain how the bill affects you. The Op-ed Project provides tips for writing, pitching and submitting op-eds: https://www.theopedproject.org/submission-information
- Call your legislators. Emailing is good - but calling is better. The staff will log your call and your opposition or support of a bill or your response to the legislator’s vote. You can contact legislators outside your district and still register your opinion. Be prepared to share your story and how the legislation affects you. Some aides will ask questions and listen, some just want to know you oppose or support a bill.
The script can be as simple as this: “Hello, my name is --- and I am calling to tell Senator/Assembly person (name) that Assembly/Senate bill #-- negatively affects my ability to earn a living and pay taxes. I would like the legislator to vote No on the bill." And if there is additional time and interest, explain how the legislation would harm you.
- Meet with your legislators. Call your legislator’s office to request a meeting about a particular bill. You can also meet with their aides, if the legislator is not available. Come prepared, with materials to share about the bill, whether it’s a handout you create or articles on the bill and its effects. Legislators are dealing with hundreds if not thousands of bills over the legislative term, so their understanding of a particular bill may be minimal, and your explanation about how it affects tax-paying constituents is important.
- Request town resolutions: Ask your town or city to pass a resolution and send that to legislators. It should also be posted on the town site and shared via social media. The mayor can also make a written statement. This may require you to bring up the issue at a town meeting and speak about it.
Here’s a sample town resolution: http://bit.ly/3bUBtH0
Here’s an example of a mayoral letter to legislators: https://villagegreennj.com/opinion/south-orange-mayor-urges-nj-lawmakers-to-withdraw-anti-independent-contractor-bill/
- Ask associations to get involved: Associations can contact legislators and put out a written and public statement to them. They can write to their members with an explanation of the bill and ask them to call legislators as well. Examples would be a local or state chamber of commerce, women’s business organizations and networking groups. See examples of organizations that spoke out against New Jersey’s bills: https://fightforfreelancers.com/for-nj-lawmakers/
- Spread the word: Share information about the legislation on social media, including on town Facebook pages and LinkedIn.