Chicagoland Freelance News | AUG 2022

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This is a truncated version of the EFA Chicagoland Chapter News. If you would like to read the full e-newsletter, visit the archive, where you can also subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox monthly.

MIND CANDY

  • Just Say No. Have trouble saying no? This list of 31 scripts—from declining an invite or work project to saying no after already saying yes—can help you out.
  • All About Books. If you write about books, the National Book Critics Circle lists 80-plus publications that publish book-related content. The list includes editor names, contact info, and rates.
  • Billinoisaire. Our congrats (and condolences) to the lucky Mega Millions player who won the $1.34 billion jackpot, the second-largest prize in U.S. history. The ticket was purchased at a Des Plaines gas station. One question: You need an editor, right?

FREELANCE NEWS

ABC Test in Illinois? Actually, It’s Already Here

A recent Discussion List post mentioned that Illinois State Senator Cristina Castro met with union reps to hash out a state version of the PRO Act. Written by Lila Stromer, the DL post reported that the version of the ABC test under consideration has a long list of exceptions in the draft legislation.

It’s unknown if the legislation is being written for a specific area of law—labor, employment, or some other area. However, versions of the ABC test are already peppered throughout Illinois law.

  • Unemployment Insurance Act. Section 212 uses an amended B prong to determine who is an employee. The act adds a stipulation that work “is performed outside of all the places of business of the enterprise for which such service is performed.”
  • Employee Classification Act. This act applies to construction workers and lists several addendums in Section 10 to determine if a subcontractor is an employee.
  • Family Military Leave Act. In Section 2, workers are classified as independent contractors if the work is not performed on-site, “unless the employer is in the business of contracting with third parties for the placement of employees.”

This is likely not an exhaustive list (I am no expert). But for these few examples, I believe even the modified ABC tests could prove problematic.

Take the amended B prong in the Unemployment Insurance Act. What if something crazy happens and employees are sent home to work remotely for an extended period? Like, say, during a global pandemic? And what if those employees don’t want to return to work in the office? Are those employees now considered independent contractors and no longer eligible to receive unemployment compensation?

Maybe. Or maybe not (where’s that army of employment and labor lawyers when I need them?)—but it does point to what I believe is the fundamental flaw with the ABC test: It’s both too broadly and blindly written. This is then compounded by legislators’ tendency to lift passages (if not the entire text) from one law to use in another.

As someone who makes a living due to sometimes “lazy” (i.e., rushed or tired) writing by clients who’ve gone blind to its unintended meaning, I find it painfully ironic that a blindly written passage lazily lifted from another law could end my business.

The upshot is that as word-meisters, we know how to craft a message. If you’re concerned about use of the ABC test, contact your legislators and let them know. Castro’s website is linked to above, but you can find all state representatives on the Illinois General Assembly website (you can also search by address on openstates.org; for federal, see GovTrack.org).

Words have power—and so do you.

So Long, Farewell CWIP

After 50 years of offering local networking, advocacy, and education, Chicago Women in Publishing has decided to close its doors. They cited “the virtual absence of volunteers, board nominees, and other offers of participation or assistance; lack of crucial infrastructure…; and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dynamic in-person networking and interaction that CWIP has thrived on” as reasons for dissolving the organization.

Over the years, CWIP put on some of the best professional education and meetings that I’ve ever attended. They will be missed.

The dissolution will be voted on by the membership in August. Full details can be found on the CWIP website.

Copyright Infringers Beware!

Authors and other copyright holders can now take infringers to task thanks to the new Copyright Claims Board, which opened its doors on June 16. The CCB is part of the U.S. Copyright Office and will hear small infringement claims.

To find out more, see the Authors Guild’s resources page. The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors will also hold a webinar, Copyright Update: What Writers Should Know About the Copyright Claims Board (online; $30), on Aug. 24.

CALENDAR

For nationwide (and some worldwide) media- and publishing-related conferences, webinars, and other events of interest to self-employed editorial freelancers, see the Media Types Omnicalendar.