Ha'aretz is reporting that freelancers are in talks with Israel's largest workers' organization, the Histadrut, to organize a freelancers' union.
The mostly-Anglo group that approached the Histadrut evidently thinks they need a union. Here are some of the reasons why:
There's also an interesting discussion in Hebrew about why freelance graphic designers should unionize, such as to create standard prices. Most of the points apply to any kind of freelancer.
Over on the aliya mailing list Tachlis, some interesting counterpoints were made:
As someone who has seen both sides of a freelancing contract, I'm not impressed with this idea either.
All the pro-union points could be addressed by creating an industry association instead of the rigidity of a union structure.
If standardized pricing is so important, concerned freelancers' should band together into a collective or form their own company. I think it's better to keep the market open by letting freelancers continue to charge whatever they like.
A freelancer concerned about long-term benefits while at one company should try to get hired on staff. Otherwise, it just sounds as if they're trying to have their cake and eat it too by getting all the advantages of an employee while still having the liberty of being independent.
A freelancer's biggest concern is getting loyal clients. The only way being unionized will help in that regard is if a company has an arrangement with the union to only use its member freelancers. A union could actually make prospecting more difficult by pitting union freelancers against non-union freelancers.
What do you think? Should a freelancers' union be encouraged or discouraged? If you're a freelancer, would you join up?
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