Practice English Speaking&Listening with: President Obama declares #FreelanceIsntFree

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So, the next question came to us from Sunday, a freelancer in New York, and she

reflected a lot of the questions that we got not just from freelancers, but

a lot of folks who were struggling with pay. And her particular question was

about the fact that sometimes freelancers aren't even paid for their

work, and there are no mechanisms available to them right now to actually

insist on being paid aside from small claims court. And so her question is, "What

will you do to help both small business owners and freelancers actually get paid

for their work?" [PRESIDENT OBAMA] This is a great question and I don't have an immediate answer.

When it comes to Federal contracts, one of the things that smart people like

Jason Furman, my current chair of the

Council for Economic Advisers, and Gene Sperling, former head of our National

Economic Council, thought of while we were still trying to find ways to boost

business and aggregate demand, they figured outyou know what, a bunch

of our small businesses who are subcontractors, or down the supply chain

to the Federal governmentthey're not getting paid long enoughor fast enough

and it doesn't matter whenwell I won't say it doesn't matterbut Boeing may be

able to surviveyou know – it taking a little bit longer to get paid but some

of their smaller suppliers cannot. And we actually changed how our payment systems

worked to accelerate it and it really helped a lot of small businesses. I mean

we loosened up a bunch of money into the economy. Those are the kinds of tricks

you work on particularly when the Congress isn't passing the laws that you need for

them to pass to boost the economy. But I haven't actually spent a lot of time

thinking about, "Are there best practices that we could institute?" But what I do

know is the Federal government, state governments, city governmentsthey're big

employers and they're big consumers. Obviously the Federal government's the

largest consumer in the world, and so setting up best practices for them then

can encourage best practices to be adopted throughoutyou knowthroughout a

particular industry. But I don't know – Jason, any anything else you want to add

on that? Any other ideas that we've we've had? Because I'm sure this is something

that's come up with SBA and others. Either

[HOST] I actually

[PRESIDENT OBAMA] Oh wait, we've got a volunteer, good.

[HOST] Sara Horowitz has been leading the way on these questions.

[SARA HOROWITZ] Well, I like to say, "Help is on the way." So thank you so much, and thank you Mr. President

for this really exceptional time to really be breaking ground and

thinking about the next frontier.

And to the great Michelle Miller and Coworker

for their great work. So in New York City right now we have Freelancers Union. It's

a national organization300,000 members of freelancers who have not been

misclassified, who really do the great work of the country and really

contribute in so many ways, and one of their biggest challenges is that they

don't get paid. The average freelancer has been stiffed $6,000 a year.

70% of all freelancers have experienced non-payment at some point in their life,

and that's why we are launching the #FreelanceIsntFree campaign

which is

[PRESIDENT OBAMA] There you go

[SARA HOROWITZ] Here we go

[PRESIDENT OBAMA] There you go. Right there. Freelancing isn't free.

[SARA HOROWITZ] And right now the New York City Council

[PRESIDENT OBAMA] I will say though, next time you need a bigger poster.

Because for those of us over 50, it becomes harder to read. Anyway, go ahead, I'm teasing.

[SARA HOROWITZ] And while the press is taking pictures, let me say that's the hashtag

because at the City Council we are now having legislation that will make it

that a company has to hire a freelancer with a contract and we are

hoping that they will have double damages, attorneys fees, so that

freelancers can get paid. The second problem is freelancing nowas I think

you were alluding tois on a 30, 60, 90 day invoicing system. Imagine if you did work

and you didn't get paid for three months. It's just really unconscionable, and some

of the biggest companies are doing this. And so this is a national campaign

joined by great unions like the Teachers Union, 32BJ SEIU, the Domestic Workers,

so many others to really say, "This getting paid is one of the most important things."

So, help is on the way, as we like to say.

[PRESIDENT OBAMA] There you go. OK. Good. [HOST] Thanks Sara.

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