Dustin's right. The iconography is totally different. Notice how Zaida's special ability shows a worker outline and a small Recruit action symbol by it--meaning "Take a worker from the Recruit pool."
Notice, too, how on page 30 on the bottom left, the symbol for taking a (second) Recruit action is the "+(Recruit action)." If Zaida were to take a Recruit action for 2 W, it would just show a big Recruit action icon--again as Dustin already said.
Makes sense to me, and that's how I'd interpreted it at first. It goes along with Shepard Caratacus having a free action space for his ability. At the time it just felt like I was doing something wrong because I'd been really dominating my opponents (got a bonus water building early so took a "free" worker every turn starting in Era 2)