We are advocates for Philly's Independent workforce

From self employed to your first 10 employees, we have your back.

The Independent workforce is one of the largest, most diverse, and easily one of the fastest growing economic engines in the city of Philadelphia, but we’re practically invisible to the government and large business institutions.

Did you know that if you file your income as a 1099 (or with anything other than a traditional W2), you aren’t counted as a “real job” in terms of economic impact?

Meanwhile, it’s not only possible but common for individuals to earn more than $100k a year as a freelancer, consultant, or other non-W2 worker. We’re not talking about “gig work” - we’re talking about real, sustainable forms of self-employment.

This limitation of our economic policies isn’t just outdated for 2022, it’s a cornerstone equity issue that affects our citizens today as well as our city’s future.

This is no longer a fringe issue.

We’re not just talking about things like affordable access to healthcare and small business loans. Those are real problems too.

But have you ever tried to get a lease or, God forbid a mortgage, while reporting your income with a 1099 instead of W2 paystubs? It’s painful even if you have substantial savings at the same bank where you’re applying for a loan!

These pains – among so many others – have made things hard for small business owners for decades.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed so many overworked, underpaid, and burned out employees to a 1099 life style.

As a result, more people are choosing 1099 their incomes streams as not only a viable, but a preferred, employment option. They are asserting the freedom to create the lives they want for themselves and their families.

At the same time, companies have also replaced many of their full time positions with contract opportunities, shifting a wide range of roles that were traditionally dominated by full time positions (like nursing) to embrace 1099 contract positions.

But the policies and laws have not kept pace with these changes.

These issues affect every Philadelphian.

Economic policy that prioritizes W2 work (and ignores 1099ers) hurts every Philadelphian, even full-time corporate employees.

When economic (and political) power can be centralized and protected, it’s the large businesses that benefit while small ones struggle.

And when our communities become dependent on those large businesses, it gives those corporations outsized influence over our neighborhoods, policies, communities, and bodies.

From city transportation systems to public health and safety, internet access, education - just about every policy that excludes small business owners while giving power to large corporate entities results in harmful impacts on everyday citizens.

And as always, these laws do the most damage to Black and brown Philadelphians – and their families and communities – who are disproportionately effected.

The 10k Strategy begins with visibility and legitimacy.

We know that the gears of change at City Hall turn slowly, so we’re starting simple and at the beginning.

Our 18 month policy and advocacy plan is still in development, but at the beginning we’re focused on:

  1. Helping lawmakers and other related institutions understand the realities of the Independent workforce, and how large of an economic impact we already have in our city in spite of not being counted and considered.
  2. Building bridges and resources that help the entire business ecosystem see the independent workforce as “real jobs” including many Independents themselves!
  3. Organizing the Independent workforce during voting season to ensure that our community is understood and represented by our elected officials.

We’re not policy experts. So we hired one.

We know that this work is important, and that politics and lawmaking is a complicated process designed to protect the status quo.

So to help us clarify our goals and make sure we have a real plan for reaching them, we’ve added Anne Gemmell to our core team as our Director of Policy and Advocacy.

For many years, Anne has been one of Philadelphia’s most effective advocates and champion of positive policy changes related to education, labor issues, and cannibus decriminalization.

Today, she is a fellow Independent, working with large institutions as a consultant to help them build consensus and strategic collaborations around complex decisions.

In a very short time, Anne has already helped us begin to understand the complex political landscape of Philly and the role that our community can play in the future of our city’s economic policy.

Our community has power. It’s time to act like it.

We’re excited by the prospect of the 10k Independents community realizing how much influence we can have, and putting that power to work. If you’re interested in this part of the work, we’d love to hear from you. And remember to vote!

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