The Freelancers Union announces co-endorsement of both Andrew Yang and Maya Wiley for Mayor on Thursday afternoon.
Yang and Wiley have seemingly been everywhere on the campaign trail in recent weeks, but despite their busy schedules the pair still made time to stop by Dumbo, Brooklyn to share their latest endorsement.
In the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge on Washington Street and Water Street, a large crowd huddled around the candidates as the Freelancers Union performed a unique action in the current mayoral race—endorsing two candidates simultaneously.
“The freelance workforces are facing the greatest economic challenge in modern history. At the height of the pandemic over 70% of New York City’s freelancers reported to have lost most of their income and felt hopeless that they didn’t qualify for the small business relief programs that the city and the state were rolling out at the time and that is why freelancers, who are often dubbed as the future of work, are yearning for a new forward thinking leadership,” said Rafael Espinal, former council member and the President of the Freelancers Union, adding, “That’s why on behalf of our members we are co-endorsing Andrew Yang and Maya Wiley for New York City Mayor.”
The Freelancers Union has been serving approximately 56.7 million independent workers across a wide variety of industries for over 25 years. Espinal shares that many of his members are in desperate need of recovery, and after analyzing the candidates for mayor, both Yang and Wiley stood out amongst the others. Still, a co-endorsement left many in attendance scratching their heads, with some even questioning if it was an innovative way for the mayoral contenders to approach ranked-choice voting—a new system of voting that allows voters to rank their candidates in lieu of picking one outright. However, this claim was swiftly dismissed.
“This is about freelance workers. This is about standing up for our workers and we both are standing up for our workers,” Wiley said.
Espinal followed up on this by stating the decision to endorse two candidates was based on the union’s split decision on the pair and seeing that this will be New York’s first time using ranked-choice voting, it would be acceptable to do so. Yang believes this is a beneficial approach and would like to see multi-endorsements continue.
“I would like to express that I applaud the Freelancers Union’s leadership in endorsing more than one candidate because this is a ranked-choice voting election. I think that other organizations might want to follow in their lead, where if there is more than one candidate that they are excited about, they should endorse more than one candidate. The fact is New York voters are going to be choosing more than one candidate in this race,” Yang said.
Both Yang and Wiley credited freelancing for having a tremendous impact on their lives, with Wiley stating that her mother became a freelancer in order to support the family following her father’s death, while Yang told the crowd that he once worked as a freelancer selling cutlery door to door prior to also becoming an independent tutor. It is with this in mind Espinal believes Yang and Wiley were the best choices thanks to their continued commitment for freelancer rights, along with the ideas they have put forward to create plans that support the ever-expanding independent workforce.
“Andrew brings desperately needed new ideas and a fresh perspective of how to build a support system for the city’s creative workforce. Maya has a true understanding of the policy changes that are needed to ensure that freelancers have the legal recourse for the issues they face,” Espinal said.
Only time will tell if the co-endorsement will pay off for the pair during the June primary.