The USFWC is the national grassroots membership organization for worker cooperatives and other democratic workplaces. Our mission is to build a thriving cooperative movement of stable, empowering jobs through worker-ownership. Representing more than 250 member workplaces and 7,000 workers across the country, we advance worker-owned, -managed, and -governed workplaces through cooperative education, advocacy and development.
As a membership and advocacy organization, we connect worker cooperative members to business benefits, to each other, and to larger cooperative, racial equity, and economic justice movements. We organize through local cooperative networks while building power with national and international partners to advance this agenda for economic justice rooted in community-based, shared ownership.
The USFWC has secured resources to hire a Project Manager to champion a new initiative–– the creation of a bold national worker-owned freelancer cooperative modeled on SmartEU. SmartEU is a co-op for Freelancers based in Belgium where they have 80,000 members. Their platform co-op takes the hassle out of freelancing by handling the administrative burden for Freelancers, while turning Freelancers into employees and worker-owners of their platform. Their structure provides debt collection, insurance, and a guaranteed contract payment fund.
The goal of our initiative is similarly to support and organize artists and gig workers for better worker protections (insurance, healthcare, fair and timely payment etc), legal protections, and increased collective bargaining power, in part through the power of a cooperatively owned platform providing similar services to SmartEU.
As a project leader, this position will take over research coordination and oversee the development and management of the initiative overall. The position will be responsible for coordinating research, platform development, legal findings and field testing a pilot project in partnership with various stakeholders. It involves a balance of face-to-face organizing with freelancers and creatives and remote, national organizing with cooperatives and legal and nonprofit stakeholders.
While the work responsibilities and focus of this position will shift as the initiative developers, this is not a temporary position. The Project Manager joins the USFWC team as a permanent full time hire, dedicated to the launch and coordination of this Freelance Co-op.
Scope of Work
Organizing, Research, and Project Management:
- Manage overall project plan in accordance with USFWC timelines, funders, research partners, and project milestones
- Engage and stay abreast of US freelance sector, including through collaborating with relevant partner orgs, with a focus on artists and creatives
- Maintain close communication with SmartEU as primary advisers, ensuring US stakeholders are familiar with the SmartEU model and its adaptations to new countries
- Introduce the SmartEU concept to a wider audience of freelancers in the US
- Set and advance benchmarks for implementation of the project’s beta test pilot
- Track project development, especially strategy, timeline, prioritization, and oversight of short and long term goals
- Convene and coordinate Advisory Committee for regular feedback on this initiative
- Liaison for project stakeholders, including research partners
- Recruit pilot users from within the freelance community
- Responsible for the operational project management, including projects’ deliverables, project planning and action follow-up.
- Oversee feasibility studies contract and project study phase.
- Document research findings in regular updates and reports
- Research how this initiative can provide value to freelance members through particular back-office services
- Participate in regular staff meetings, and peer evaluations as appropriate
- Experience and comfort with self-directed work environments .
- Strong time management, project management, organization skills, and good judgment are required.
- Strong written / oral communications skills and remote communications.
- Prior experience as a freelance worker is essential.
- Fundraising experience is required. Small donor artist campaigns and online fundraising projects qualify, as does grant writing, artist or research proposal drafting.
- Outgoing personality, positive attitude and strong social skills
- Software competence: spreadsheet software, database and contact management software, general office software.
- Work experience in gig, adjunct, temp, precarious or contingent work
- Experience with democratic decision-making
- Start-up and small business entrepreneurship experience
- Experience with member-based labor, cooperative, collective, or nonprofit organizations
- Familiarity with the landscape of freelancers, independent contractors, artists, creatives, and contract workers and ethical small business
This position could be based anywhere, but priority will be given to candidates in Philadelphia, which is where our primary office is located. We maintain a flexible work environment, including remote working and occasional out of town travel.
Our Staff and Our Network:
Our nine board members and eight staff members come from and are grounded in co-ops and
movements for racial and economic justice. Both our board and our staff are majority people of color. Most of our directors come from immigrant backgrounds, with half of our leadership being bilingual. We know that cooperative structures offer more self-determination for working people because our team is led by worker-owners and other thinkers and doers within movements for worker control and racial and economic justice. Across our work, we cultivate a grassroots network of leaders through mentorship, training, public speaking, and successive opportunities for gaining skills and responsibilities. Because of this, the USFWC can accomplish a scale of achievement that many do not expect from a small staff team. Our efforts have built a platform for activities to emerge and flourish through collective action.
The USFWC has continued to expand its programs, membership, and operations (including staff) in recent years. We are dedicated to serving workers of the 21st century and focusing on growing our collective impact. Precarious work is a key area of workforce trends and many industries and allies in the economic justice movement are deeply engaged in questions about the future of work and worker organizing. This project therefore involves strengthening relationships with national and sector-focused organizations who support gig, freelance, and contingent workers in the US.
Compensation & Benefits:
This is a full time, salaried 40 hr/ week position. Starting FTE annual salary ranges from $43,000 – $46,000 depending on experience. Full time staff in Philadelphia are eligible for health coverage in addition to the USFWC Vision and Dental plan. The USFWC also provides generous fringe benefits including flexible holiday and paid time off, a minimum of three weeks annual vacation, and professional development stipend.
To apply please send a resume, cover letter, project summary for a previous initiative you managed including a sample of the output (report, website, timeline, business profile, event photos etc), and 3 references to email@example.com. Make the subject line of your email “Your Name, Freelance Co-op Coordinator Application”. Position will be open until filled, but applications submitted by Friday Dec 13th, close of business will receive priority.