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New York Circle of Translators

April 2023: Freelancers Union with Rafael Espinal

  • 18 Apr 2023
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Online


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NYCT April 2023 Webinar

Tuesday, April 18, 2023, 6:00 PM EDT 

Freelancers Union

Presenter: Rafael Espinal



Freelancers Union is a support system for all independent workers. Their mission is to promote the interests of independent workers through advocacy, education, and services. They build novel solutions to support independent workers so they can be secure and thrive, no matter how they work.

In this talk, Rafael Espinal will talk you through what the Freelancers Union has to offer  and how you can benefit from this network of more than 500.000 independent workers nationwide.


Rafael Espinal is the Executive Director of Freelancers Union. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Rafael Espinal became New York’s youngest elected official when he joined the State Assembly at age 26. The son of Dominican immigrants who were union members as well as freelancers, Rafael quickly became a leader fighting on behalf of workers, small businesses, artists, low-income communities, and the environment. In 2013, he was elected to the New York City Council, representing Brooklyn’s diverse 37th District.

Rafael has been a steadfast advocate for freelancer rights throughout his career. On the City Council, he was an early supporter and a co-sponsor of the first-of-its-kind Freelance Isn’t Free legislation that passed in New York City in 2016, giving freelancers unprecedented protection from nonpayment and late payment. He co-sponsored a bill passed in 2019 to extend protections against harassment and discrimination to independent workers under the City’s Human Rights Law.

Rafael’s efforts to ensure worker rights included co-sponsorship of the nation’s first “Right to Disconnect” bill, introduced in New York City in 2019, which would give workers at companies with more than 10 employees the right to not respond to electronic work communications after business hours. As chair of the City Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, he oversaw the implementation of NYC’s successful Paid Sick Leave Law.

Rafael’s other legislative accomplishments on the City Council include negotiating a $250 million comprehensive investment plan for his district, one of New York’s most underserved. The New York Times Editorial Board said in 2019, “In a 51-member body, Mr. Espinal has been a standout.” Time Out magazine named him a New Yorker of the Year in 2017 for leading the repeal of New York’s “no dancing” Cabaret Law—which had been used to target black-owned clubs, gay bars, and underground establishments since the Prohibition Era—and the establishment of the city’s new Office of Nightlife.

Rafael attended public schools and graduated from Queens College with a degree in English.

He served as an adult literacy teacher and as chief of staff for New York City Councilman Erik Martin Dilan before running for elective office.

As only the third leader of Freelancers Union since its founding in 1995, Rafael is committed to engaging with freelancers across the country, listening to their concerns, amplifying their voices in important policy debates, and continuing to strengthen and expand a movement that serves a broad spectrum of independent workers and helps them thrive in a fast-changing economy.

Q&A will follow the presentation.


NYCT members attend for free

Non-members attend for $10 

Please consider joining the NYCT

and contact the NYCT administrator Natalia at

with any questions regarding the membership.


Terms and conditions:

  • Everyone must RSVP and pay (if applicable) before Tuesday, May 18.
    • No refunds will be offered after the registration fee is received.
    • We are unable to accommodate any late registrations, payments, and inquiries. 
  • All non-members who would like to attend this meeting must pay $10 (for this talk only) or please consider becoming a member.
  • It is at the presenter’s discretion to share the presentation deck with the NYCT to be shared with the members at a later date.
  • Please feel free to forward this invitation to any interested parties.
  • Please mark your calendar for the meeting date and time today. You will receive the meeting info about 24 hours prior to the meeting time. Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for your ongoing support! Please contact us anytime with any comments, questions, and suggestions for future topics.

Looking forward to seeing you at this meeting!

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