World's Longest Invoice: Freelancers Union Kicks Off Campaign To Highlight Unpaid Work

04/27/2012 01:33 pm ET | Updated Apr 27, 2012

Freelancers have long been the envy of cubicle-trapped office workers. From the flexible hours to escaping mundane office politics, there's a lot to love about operating solo.

Yet, one major downfall that almost every freelancer experiences is unpaid invoices. The fact of the matter is that if a self-employed freelancer gets shortchanged, the cost of taking the issue to court is often greater than what the bill is worth.

But now freelancers are joining forces to fight back against "deadbeat clients" by creating the world's longest invoice, reports Business Week.

The civic action campaign launched Thursday is led by the Freelancers Union--a non-profit organization that provides health insurance to freelance workers--and invites freelancers to submit to their running tally of unpaid bills online.

At press time, the invoice had climbed to over $8.6 million in unpaid work, ranging from a slew of professions including web development, design, writing and illustration.

The New York Observer notes web-related services generated some of the highest rates named on the invoice.

So what's the point? Brokelyn--a web magazine about living in Brooklyn, N.Y.--reports that the Freelance Union plans to submit the total staggering amount to Albany legislators on May 22 to support the Payment Protection Act. The proposed legislation would allow freelancers to submit their complaints to the Department of Labor who would then chase up the client for non-payment.

“We hope the invoice will help them to see the scope and depth of the problem,” union spokesman Dan Lavoie told Brokelyn.

Want to hear more from the campaign? Check out the mascot they've adopted who sings the blues on YouTube about paying the rent.

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