Thank you for your interest in the Guild Association. We are an organization dedicated to reviving the traditional institution known as guilds. We believe that guilds will once again be an essential part of the economy for a variety of reasons. Our mission is to help guilds establish themselves and to keep modern guilds organized.
What is a Guild?
A guild is essentially an association of independent contractors. These contractors are self employed sole proprietors of their own business. Guilds help these contractors in a variety of ways, including helping them find jobs and advocate on their behalf. Guilds have also traditionally provided training for novices entering a field. In this respect, they are in some ways similar to miniature trade schools.
Guilds aren’t Unions
A misconception that seems to have hurt the resurgence of guilds is the notion that unions act as a modern alternative to guilds. However, as mentioned above, a guild is an association for independent contractors. Unions on the other hand are associations for wage laborers: employees. Unions are focused on working conditions of employees. They fight for higher minimum wage, shorter working hours, safer work conditions, etc. But guilds have no need to do such a thing. The members of guilds work for themselves. It would be rather strange if the member was dissatisfied with the amount that he is paying himself to work.
One reason why guilds largely ceased to exist is because labor moved towards industry where a large number of employees worked for a few employers. However, currently about 10% of the workforce is composed of independent contractors and according to an Intuit report, that rate may increase to 40% by 2020. If that is the case, there will be no one to represent 40% of the workforce. Guilds will therefore become crucial.
Should I Join a Guild?
Whether or not you should join a guild depends on a few things. First, are you an independent contractor, or at least do you want to be? Essentially any job that you can perform on your own, without the need for a team, would work well for independent contracting. If you are an independent contractor, or want to become one, the next question to ask is whether or not there is already a guild which accommodates your trade.
Should I Start a Guild?
The number of guilds currently in existence are limited. These guilds themselves are limited in how much to work to support the independent contractor. Given the important role guilds will play in the near future, you may consider starting your own guild. But doing so would not be easy. You would need to find members. You would need to be able to handle the paperwork involved and even with the help that the Guild Association can provide, this will be time consuming. However, if you believe that you have the time to dedicate to starting a guild, it may be a worthwhile venture, and the Guild Association will help.