Watch out, CBS! And other media conglomerates that have enriched themselves while benefiting from the unpaid labor of the servile, desperate underclasses for decades now because they could! The Interns are coming for you. And you deserve the full force of their wrath.
Late last week, Mallory Musallam filed a class action complaint against CBS Broadcasting, CBS Corp. and the retiring late-night host’s Worldwide Pants on behalf herself and everyone who has ever been an intern on the show. “Named Plaintiff has initiated this action seeking for herself, and on behalf of all similarly situated employees that also worked on The Late Show With David Letterman, all compensation, including minimum wages and overtime compensation, which they were deprived of, plus interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs,” says the jury demanding filing in New York Supreme Court. …
“Named Plaintiff performed various tasks, including, but not limited to, research for interview material, deliver film clips from libraries, running errands, faxing, scanning, operating the switchboard, and other similar duties,” claims the complaint against CBS and Letterman. Musallam’s attorneys allege that she worked a 40-hour week like a full-time employee and did not receive any “academic or vocational training” while atLate Show. In fact, they say that was the point, so the production company could keep its payroll expenses down. “Upon information and belief, Defendants would have hired additional employees or required existing staff to work additional hours had the Named Plaintiff and the putative class members not performed work for Defendants,” the 14-page filing adds.
As someone who was kicked around the Entertainment industry for years and barely made it out with all bodily functions intact, I say hoo-fucking-ray. Lawyer up and get yours, Interns.
S. Mitra Kalita, the ideas editor at Quartz, has some advice for parents who are emailing their friends and asking them if they have any internship spots available for their kids: Don’t do it.
At NBC News, Nona Willis Aronowitz writes about the rise of the high school age intern. High school students are taking on both unpaid and paid internships to gain experience in a field they are interested in or to make themselves standout during the college application process.
Doree Shafrir is an executive editor at Buzzfeed who’s hired and managed her fair share of millennials. Her piece, “Can the Intern Hamster Wheel Be Stopped?” takes a hard look at the troubling trend of ‘do a dozen unpaid internships everywhere but then never find a job in the creative industry to which you just devoted your early 20s.’ It is nice to hear discussion about what can be done from people who have the power to do something about it.
This weekend, Melissa Schorr looked at some of the litigation that has been occurring against companies by unpaid interns, how some unpaid internships are disappearing (Conde Nast shuttered its internship program for 2014), and how colleges have remained conspicuously silent about the matter (companies feel better about offering no compensation if they think interns will get college credit they can actually use towards graduating).
Happy Holidays to family, friends, Missed Connections and temp agency administrators.
I thought I was morally opposed to the practice of having rich young post-teens move to New York for the summer and work for magazines for free, but after hearing these former unpaid interns complain about their experiences in this New York Post article? Well I still agree that unpaid internships are exploitative, but also I kind of want one of these brats to go pick up my dry-cleaning.
According to this revelatory (to me) opinion piece by Peter Sterne in the Columbia Spectator, that college credit ain’t worth much. Just a way to let employers hire you for free, really:
“If you’re a Columbia student and you do an internship, Columbia will give you “college credit” for it. This credit, known as “R-credit,” has little in common with the credits you’ll get for passing classes. It appears on your transcript, but it doesn’t actually count toward your degree. It’s basically meaningless.
To receive this credit, all you need to is fill out a simple form, get your internship supervisor to sign it, and submit it to the Center for Student Advising. It would be easy to get this credit fraudulently, but who would want to?”