Creators of Fight For Freelancers New Jersey Honored with Exceptional Service Award
TRENTON, NJ, JUNE 21, 2021 — The American Society of Journalists and Authors presented its Exceptional Service Award—a special honor only given periodically—to Debbie Abrams Kaplan, Kim Kavin and Jen Singer, co-creators of the the nonpartisan, grassroots, self-funded, ad hoc coalition Fight For Freelancers.
The three New Jersey residents, all professional freelance writers and editors, founded Fight For Freelancers in late 2019 after New Jersey lawmakers tried to advance anti-independent contractor Senate Bill 4204. The legislation was based on California’s Assembly Bill 5, which continues to wreak havoc on the careers of freelance writers and other independent contractors in hundreds of professions in the Golden State.
“Debbie Abrams Kaplan, Kim Kavin and Jen Singer swung into action and stopped the New Jersey bill from advancing through a combination of grassroots organizing, lobbying and a media campaign,” ASJA wrote in announcing the Exceptional Service Award. “They branded Fight for Freelancers New Jersey and encouraged freelancers in other states to fight measures there, too, creating Fight for Freelancers groups in New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere. When pressure emerged at the federal level to advance the PRO Act, with anti-freelancer language similar to the state bills, they created Fight for Freelancers USA.”
Kaplan, of Westfield in Union County; Kavin, of Washington Township (Long Valley) in Morris County; and Singer, of Red Bank in Monmouth County received the award alongside four other individuals from California, Kentucky and Georgia who have all worked tirelessly to stop anti-independent contractor legislation at the state and federal levels. The various Fight For Freelancers groups now encompass thousands of self-employed members who work in dozens of professions. These members continue to demand that lawmakers stop enacting ABC Test-based laws that threaten their choice of independent contractor careers.
“Together, these ASJA members have inspired and fueled efforts of writers and other freelancers from coast to coast who have created hundreds of resources, articles, op-eds, social media posts and letters to legislators on this topic,” ASJA wrote. “While the fight is far from over, ASJA would like to stop and recognize these members for their leadership and heroic efforts on behalf of freelance writers.”
In Trenton, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney has reintroduced the anti-independent contractor legislation, now Senate Bill 863, but has not attempted to advance it. The national legislation, the PRO Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year. That bill is currently stalled in the U.S. Senate, where the Fight For Freelancers team is working tirelessly to make sure it does not pass.
“We are deeply honored to receive this recognition from the American Society of Journalists and Authors,” Singer said. “We are all proud members of ASJA, which itself has sued the state of California as part of the fight to stop this regressive, career-killing, anti-freelancer legislation. ASJA is a true, trustworthy voice standing up on behalf of professional freelance writers everywhere.”