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rjsha
Member

Is Upwork creating a "spec" site where freelancers are subject to the whim of the client for payment

I'm going to be starting a new topic in a moment, but I wanted to reply to this. There is a significant question about Upwork's support of freelancers. I just finished (a few weeks ago) a month-long project. I added 20,000 words, Yep, you got that right...20,000 words to a 14,000 word, very primitive manuscript. I do this kind of work a lot. It's not unsual for someone to want to bulk up their manuscript, but it is hard to do well. 

 

The client, from **edited for Community Guidelines** decided they would reject the manuscript. Now their job posting, and our agreement, was that they would allow me to use my own judgement regarding what the manuscript needed. With 25 years of experience, I know what a manuscript needs. Because they rejected the manuscript, we went to "arbitration."

 

For those of you who've not been through that process, you are required to make a payment of $275, and then post (on adr.org, if you are interested) various documents. In my case, the "arbitrator" (placing this in quotes since she was so inadequate) in her award decided that the client did Not have to pay me. She cited no legal prevailing authority, or any difficulty with the manuscript, which I had rewritten and added to. The arbitrator noted in her award to the client that she would not make me REPAY the intial payment (about $3,000 before Upwork's 20% deduction). Hoo hay! As I pointed out to her in my postings DURING the process, the client had no right to Request the return of the initial payment, since we were past the 30-day period. Upwork's rules do not allow for payments to be refunded after 30 days. Thus, it would...initially...appear that the "arbitrator" is being Solomon-like and cutting the baby in half. Oh, so fair, you might think? But no. As noted, the "arbitrator" VIOLATED Upwork's own rules by even considering the client's request for return of the full amount, and by citing it as part of her arbitration award. Further, the adr.org Requires that all parties be served, via email, all loaded documents. I pointed out to the "arbitrator that I had not been served via email the intital statement from the client, and the arbitrator also ignored that. It is my belief that Upwork forcing freelancers into arbitration, and forcing freelancers to incure additional costs and delayed release of payments...if they are "awarded" the payment from the client, violates the laws of the United States. When you do work, in the United States, you are paid for your work. Do any of us have a "will-work-on-spec" on our profiles? No. I would note that in my feedback on the job, I posted that I should have not worked with anyone in **edited for Community Guidelines**. However, I have a degree in the social sciences and tend to work with a wide-range of people, especially from other cultures. It's something I usually enjoy. Regardless, the POINT here is this: Are we working on spec or not? Should we be forced into "arbitration" or is it Upwork's responsibility to hold client's responsible for their payments when the work is done. Please note, I had an agreement with that client that they would pay me within 24-hours of providing them the work. I do this, specifically, because I do Not work on spec. I know how good I am and if I provide the work, I cannot get it back. This policy of mine prevents abuse, in almost all cases. Further, in 25 years, I have never had a client unhappy with my work or ask for any changes. Imagine that this happened with a client from **edited for Community Guidelines**. You figure.

 

In closing, are we working on spec here at Upwork, and don't know it? Do we have to PAY in order to be paid? Your thoughts, please.

62 REPLIES 62


RJ S wrote:

Petra, I'm baffled that you are allowed to post given your harassing and virulent statements.

 

As to this:

"Minimum wage" in the USA does not apply to freelancing on a global platform. It applies to employment. Freelancing is not employment. Find someone who can patiently explain it to you.

 

Upwork is located in California and has to abide by US labor laws. They have to abide by US LAWS. As to being a "global" marketplace, let's look at where the money Upwork makes comes from...wanna guess that 80% is from those in the US (clients/freelancers)?


_______________________________

Upwork itself abides by the rules. It's an introductory site - like a dating agency. It cannot legislate how a freelancer - from all countries (this is after all a global marketplace) - runs his or her business. As far as I know, there is NO minimum wage for freelancers anywhere in the world . Freelancers choose their own rates. They are responsible for their own businesses. They are responsible for their own taxes -  and interestingly - are also responsible for the people they hire. Upwork is not a freelancer.

 

RJS (don't you have a name?) give it a rest. Upwork has serious legal advisors in place. However mad any of us get with its sometimes abitrary MO, this is not some cowboy outfit trying to score off naive freelancers. If you feel so strongly about this, then get some local legal advice, but you would be wasting your money. 

 

You had a bad experience - you clearly think you are cut above everyone on the forum - so prove it by moving on and getting over it.  

Actually you are wrong. As soon as Upwork places conditions on "freelancers," it has changed from an "introductory" site to a different entity. You might want to follow what is happening with Lyft and Uber, for instance.

 

As to "get over myself," gosh, I am just amazed at the Vile and Nasty statements in this "community" forum. I'm not sure what you mean by that **edited for Community Guidelines**


RJ S wrote:

Hi, 

There aren't any transcripts. In arbitration, both sides post various documents to the adr.org site. The arbitrator can ask for other documents should they wish to. This arbitrator requested that I provide a "compare" document (which shows all the changes from the original document as highlighted text). I did this. I had added 20,000 words and had read 8 books (suggested by the client) and had a final bibliography of 24 books for the project. I decided to post this to Upwork's community, because I see again and again, that freelancers aren't paid properly but most often they have no recourse because the low amount of payment doesn't allow them to spend $275 on the arbitration fee to recover $150, for instance. My point throughout has been that Upwork should be fiercely supporting freelancers and their work. Further, I am seeing a massive number of jobs for a "book" to be written for $60 or $100, which can only mean a plagiarize-and-spin project. I believe all those jobs that are clearly, and thinly-disguised, jobs should be purged from Upwork. As well, any job posted on Upwork should adhere to minimum wage standards. I see numerous jobs for $4 an hour, ect. These jobs violate federal minimum wage standards in the US.


What I mean by "trascripts" is the email messages that go back and forth as both of you answer questions. You can see each others answers in the emails you receive. There is even a phase where the two of you can respond to the claims that you see from the other side.

Hi All,

 

A few posts on this thread have been edited for Community GuidelinesWe encourage our Community members to be professional and respectful to one another when posting here. Please, be mindful of the Community Guidelines and avoid making personal attacks.

 

Thank you.

~ Bojan
Upwork

Bojan, 

Petra, Tiffany, and Jennifer are posting vile statements about me in respones to my very lucid comments about a situation I feel is taking place on Upwork. Why aren't they banned from the community forum?


RJ S wrote:

As well, any job posted on Upwork should adhere to minimum wage standards. I see numerous jobs for $4 an hour, ect. These jobs violate federal minimum wage standards in the US.


They would if they were jobs. Of course, since we're all independent contractors and not employees, there is no federal minimum wage.

 


Jennifer M wrote:

It would be interesting to see the transcripts for this. I think arbitration favors the freelancer heavily. To lose the entire amount without the arbitrator giving the OP something (half, even) is interesting. There has to be something that triggered the arbitrator to force the freelancer to lose it all.


It seems possible to me that she lost it for herself with what she submitted. I have no idea what she wrote there, obviously, but the posts here have been long and jumbled with no paragraph breaks, a lot of philosophical posturing and repeated misstatements of Upwork's policies. It's certainly plausible that her point was simply lost in a tidal wave of words.

Tiffany**Edited for community guidelines**. I read your profile and someone with your writing skills, or lack thereof, shouldn't be commenting on mine. I'm an excellent writer and the posts I've written here are quite well-written. But, since you are an attorney, or have a law degree, you...like so many attorneys...seem to think you can see what you don't see. Again, the arbitrator gave no reason. And by the way, when was the last time you wrote 20,000 words in a month? And had spent half that time researching the project? Here's someone who is complaining about Upwork, as well. As you'll see, my point that most won't go to arbitration because it is too expensive given the modest payments on Upwork, generally, is on point: "There was confusion as to what was required for this project. I thought I was being hired to write/edit a 4-5 page company profile, but the client started expecting design work (I'm not a designer), designing complex diagrams and pictures and sourcing images for the logistics company's profile. He downplayed how much work it would be and then changed the project completely once I had agreed to the terms. With future clients, I hope KK is more clear upfront about what he needs, and I would definitely suggest that future freelancers charge hourly to avoid getting underpaid if the scope of the project takes a left turn."

RJ, I'm not going to debate writing skills with you. Everyone here can read. But, I will answer one question for you: I can't recall the last month in which I wrote as little as 20,000 words. If forced to guess, I would say it was about five years ago. 

ha ha. Yeah, right. Tiffany, since you seem to have endless amounts of time to spend in the community section, I'm assuming that you are just so great at writing. Do recall, you made a crack about my writing first. And by the way, I've actually worked in professional publishing for 25 years. And since you decided to insult my writing, when no one else ever has, I'm unsure why Upwork allows you to be in the community forum.


RJ S wrote:

 And since you decided to insult my writing, when no one else ever has, I'm unsure why Upwork allows you to be in the community forum.


Because around here people aren't banned from the forum for criticising your writing.

RJS, something I'm sure you're keenly aware of as an experienced 25 year writer -

 

Despite James Joyce's proclivity for long convoluted sentences, writers and more importantly, readers, value the use of periods and paragraph breaks.

Yes, well, Wendy. If all I wrote was door hangers and emails then I suppose I'd only write as those criticizing me here do. Oh wait, I see that none of you have actually written a book. Gee, how about that. And it is odd how many are criticizing my writing when it's certainly served me well enough to have been a literary agent and written many books for my clients, who've taken them to enormous success. 


RJ S wrote:

. Oh wait, I see that none of you have actually written a book.


I have.

So?

Actually, Upwork's guidelines for the community specifically states that you cannot make personal attacks. Why don't you read them so you'll know what the rules are?

Actually, that violates the Guidelines as i understand it. **Edited for Community Guidelines**

RJ, you're the only legit profile and thread on this forum right now, so in a weird way I appreciate your bants.


RJ S wrote:

Do recall, you made a crack about my writing first. 


Actually, I didn't. I'm sorry that your ego is so fragile that you chose to make that interpretation and be so upset by it that you've now felt the need to make several posts about me and my writing in different places. That makes me very sad for you, and I sincerely hope that this is a result of having been knocked down by the unexpected result in arbitration and you are usually stronger and more stable.

What I actually did was point out the possibility (based on my extensive experience with legal proceedings) that your particular style of presentation wasn't well received in the legal arena. I have taken no position on your writing skills, nor on my own. It has always been my belief that one's writing skills speak for themselves.

Actually you did criticize my writing first. I find it odd how much time a few of you have to be here in the forum. **edited for Community Guidelines**

Again, addressing things like my ego is simply a **Edited for Community Guidelines** way of attacking me. I'm reporting you to Upwork for violating community guidelines.

What does one's "assumed" political stance have to do with anything being said? I would be very interested in the logic behind that.

Actually, if you read the community guidelines, we aren't allowed to post transcripts. 

 

And inherently, your statement is a blaming one. Why do you think there must have been something I did wrong? Maybe the arbitrator has a personal agenda of some sort? Perhaps **edited for Community Guidelines** who ...like someone else here said...believes we OWE other countries to reduce our rates so they can earn a living (even if that means we don't earn a living for our families).

aocumen
Community Manager
Community Manager

To everyone,

Please be mindful of the Community Guidelines when posting and engaging with other users in the Community. This thread will be now be closed from further replies, and posts will be removed from this thread, or edited. 


~ Avery
Upwork
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