ASJA Releases Statement Opposing Efforts to Restrict Work by Independent Writers

For Immediate Release
American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc.
Tim Bennett
212-297-2108

American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc. Opposes Efforts to
Restrict Work by Independent Writers

With the passage of AB5 in California and the introduction of A5936 and S4204 in New Jersey and A8721 in New York, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc. has issued a statement opposing measures like these.

“The organization stands in solidarity with our members and with all freelancers facing threats to their livelihoods as a result of laws and legislation aimed at either prohibiting or restricting their work as independent entrepreneurs,” writes ASJA president, Milton C. Toby JD.

Read the full statement:

Statement on Legislative Threats to Freelance Writers
From the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc.

            For more than 70 years, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., has recognized and endorsed the guarantees of free speech and an unfettered press established in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the promise of equal protection under the laws set out in the Fourteenth Amendment. Our dedication to these basic principles of writing with a free hand is part of the organization’s Constitution, which includes the improvement of “professional conditions for the independent writer” as one of ASJA’s principal purposes. Our mission statement reflects our on-going intention to “represent freelancers’ interests, serving as spokesperson for their right to control and profit from the uses of their work wherever it appears.”

            In this context, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., opposes legislative efforts to restrict the ability of independent writers to work as they choose without governmental interference. The organization stands in solidarity with our members and with all freelancers facing threats to their livelihoods as a result of laws and legislation aimed at either prohibiting or restricting their work as independent entrepreneurs.

            The American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., recognizes that misclassification of workers as independent contractors when they deserve treatment as employees is a serious problem in many—but certainly not all—sectors of the labor market. We in no way condone the exploitation of workers by their employers. Trying to solve the problem by painting all independent workers with the same overly broad brush, however, ignores a robust community of freelance writers who choose independent career paths. Such legislation is both short-sighted and ultimately counterproductive. We urge the country’s lawmakers to respect the constitutional rights and personal preferences of freelancers when considering legislation that redefines the status of independent contractors. Legislation that includes freelance writers in the general class of allegedly exploited workers is an attempt to solve a problem that does not exist and will cause immeasurable harm.

Milton C. Toby JD
President
American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc.

About the American Society of Journalists and Authors

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Journalists and Authors is the nation's professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. Our membership consists of outstanding freelance writers of magazine articles, trade books, and many other forms of nonfiction writing, each of whom has met ASJA's exacting standards of professional achievement. ASJA offers extensive benefits and services focusing on professional development, including regular confidential market information, meetings with editors and others in the field, an exclusive referral service, seminars and workshops, discount services and, above all, the opportunity for members to explore professional issues and concerns with their peers. ASJA is a primary voice in representing freelancers' interests, serving as spokesman for their right to control and profit from uses of their work in the new media and otherwise. Visit www.asja.org for more details.

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