Earlier this month AC CAN hosted our summer Stakeholder Convening in collaboration with the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment (SF OFE). Prevailing Challenges to Financial Success in the Bay Area focused on two key topic areas in the income and asset development field that our members selected: Issues While Working in the Gig Economy and The Importance of the CFPB.
The convening opened with a welcome and introduction by Sarah Teater, Financial Capability Program Manager from the SF OFE and Rosalyn Epstein, former Program Coordinator for the ACCAN. Following introductions and an overview of the agenda, Ms. Epstein led the group in an activity on “How to Frame Your Story” – a recap of an advocacy tool that emphasizes the practice of shaping your advocacy story into an effective narrative. After a quick stretch and networking break, our first set of panelists discussed the “ins and outs” of challenges that workers in the gig economy face, as well as various resources that are available to independent contractors. Also included in the conversation were current and future strategic policy initiatives to promote worker rights, and dialogue around the changing world of work on a broader scope. We were joined by Natalie Foster, Advisor to The Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative; Katherine Fiester, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid at Work and Katherine Wutchiett, Skadden Fellow, Legal Aid at Work.
In the political climate shift that accompanied the new presidential administration, the CFPB has come under attack by politicians that are crafting legislation that would limit the bureau’s enforcement authority, reduce its ability to make rules and repeal its consumer complaint system. For the income and asset development community, understanding the threats to the CFPB and strategies to advocate for and protect the Bureau, is of critical importance. In the same vein, our second panel featured Alicia Criado, Regional Strategist within the Office of Community Affairs at the CFPB, who joined us to provide an overview of the CFPB via teleconference from Washington D.C.; Solana Rice, Director of State and Local Policy at Prosperity Now, and Vedika Ahuja, Economic Equity Manager, from the Greenlining Institute in Oakland. Our speakers helped to summarize some of the extensive tools and resources that the CFPB has developed to improve consumer understanding, as well as outline the CFPB’s regulatory actions and litigation to protect the rights of consumers in recent years.
A warm thanks to the over 40 network members and community partners who joined us to make this event a success! We are especially are grateful for the generous donation of breakfast food items provided by Whole Foods in Oakland. If you were not able to attend or would like a copy of the convening materials and resources, we have made all materials available for download below.
– Adriana Fuentes, Fellow, Support to Income & Asset Development and Opportunity Youth Initiatives, Urban Strategies Council
- CFPB By the Numbers Handout
- Freelancer/Independent Contractor Start-up Kit
- The Gig Economy Starter Kit: which includes a series of free online courses to help people understand if the gig economy is right for them and how to maximize opportunities via online platforms to improve everything from personal branding to client/time management to financial/career planning.
- Insurance in the Sharing Economy module covers insurance issues and tax tips for “gig” workers: https://www.consumer-action.org/modules/module_insurance_sharing_economy
- How to sign up for Disability Insurance Elective Coverage, mentioned as an option for self-employed individuals to be covered by Disability Insurance in the event that they are unable to work and lose wages due to their own non-work-related illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth. http://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/Self-Employed.htm
- Tax free USA site prepared taxes for contractors at not cost: https://www.freetaxusa.com/
- Freelancers Union: https://www.freelancersunion.org/
- Independent Drivers Guild: https://drivingguild.org/
- MEDA: http://medasf.org/
A few more helpful Bay Area resources:
- Find a free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in the Bay Area: http://earnitkeepitsaveit.org/
- Resources for Small Business Owners (or aspiring business owners) in SF: https://businessportal.sfgov.org/
- There are also Starter Kits for specific industries: https://businessportal.sfgov.org/start/starter-kits
- The Renaissance Center has workshops and courses for people who want to start or already have their own small business: http://www.rencenter.org/
Legislative positions from Consumer-Action.org:
- Oppose H.R.: Financial Choice Act of 2017 – Submit an opposition e-mail message
- Oppose H.R.: Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 – Sign-up to receive alerts about this bill and learn how to contact your senators to oppose this bill.
- Oppose S. 34: Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 – Sign-up to receive alerts about this bill and learn how to contact your congressional leaders to oppose this bill.
Other Legislation that advocates should have on their radars:
- Oppose HR 482: Local Zoning Protection Decisions Act of 2017 – Sign-up to receive alerts about this bill and learn how to contact your congressional leaders to oppose this bill.
Seeks to repeal HUD’s affirmatively furthering fair housing rule, which promotes fair housing choice and creates inclusive communities free from discrimination in areas that receive federal funding for housing. If enacted, the bill would nullify the HUD rule.
- Support S537: Arbitration Fairness Act of 2017 – Sign-up to receive alerts about this bill and learn how to contact your congressional leaders to oppose this bill.
Arbitration Fairness Act of 2017 would prohibit the use of mandatory, pre-dispute arbitration agreements in consumer, employment, civil rights, and antitrust cases.
There is other legislative information listed on www.consumer-action.org, review and take action to make your voice heard!