The word is pretty easy to decipher, permalancer is the merging of the words permanent and freelancer.
Permalancer has been popping up all over the place recently, especially in plural form, largely due to the employee strikes currently going on at Viacom, MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1. What makes it a 'hot' term is the benefits issue surrounding permalancers in these large organizations. As a contracted freelancer you are not entitled to benefits, although some organizations are generous enough to extend these perks to people they intend to work with long-term. Those above mentioned companies are not among those generous organizations, however. No, the permalancers who have led the charge that has captured the headlines have been working as full-time contract employees for years without receiving any of the benefits their full-time regular employee counterparts receive.
Some of the clever signs these permalancers and their supporters have been holding up for news crews and company execs to view include witty alterations of the company names. One man is seen holding up a Sickelodeon sign and a lady is pictured with a WTF sign in the design of the MTV logo.
As of this post Viacom has apparently given in to the publicity and shame of trying to cheat the system and will be granting their permalancers benefits, including the much sought after and seemingly hard-earned benefit of health insurance.