MTV’s striking permalancers – who walked out when Viacom cut their health insurance and other benefits – are blogging to get their views heard.
Management partly relented, but many issues remain – and not just at Viacom. Making me wonder what planet they actually live on, The Freelancer’s Union (which just switched health insurance providers for its members, including this one, in the most half-assed possible way) says in their newsletter:
“Less than a week after Viacom’s announcement, the company relented (at least partially) and recognized the workers’ concerns, reinstating health benefits. This was an unprecedented victory and display of organizing for freelancers (check out their blog: MTV Freelancers). The permalancers’ long-term status within the company remains uncertain, but Viacom has learned that they can’t make decisions without taking this group of workers into consideration.”
Dream on! The important part of that paragraph is that the permalancers’ long-term status remains uncertain. Strike-busting is sport for big companies and the government these days. It’s anyone’s guess how long Viacom waits til it hires people to replace the strikers.
I hope the IRS is paying attention to Viacom’s classification of people who work full-time but are classified as freelance because that’s supposed to be illegal.
People who need to pay the bills can’t always choose their classification. If they don’t want the job, you can be sure someone else will. So freelance generally means employee with no benefits.
One MTV employee, commenting on a Gawker post about the classification, wrote:
“The problem at Viacom is that, as a freelancer I have the same job title and do the same job as the staff employee who sits next to me. In fact, I have to cover for that person when they are on their paid vacation (!!!!!) There is absolutely zero difference between our job duties and our amount of responsibility.”