Search Results for ‘interns’

Don’t ban unpaid internships

Unpaid internships are standard practice at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in political campaigns. Should they be banned for private-sector employers? I answer “no” in a new U.S. News “Debate Club” also featuring a contribution by Dan Rothschild of R Street Institute as well as contributions by three advocates of a ban. Excerpt of mine:

With eyes wide open, students with many options have long sought out voluntary unpaid internships because they’re an arrangement that can rationally benefit both sides.

In an Auburn University working paper last month (via), four economists reported on a study that found internship experience was associated with a 14 percent increase in the rate at which prospective employers request interviews of job seekers. As a predictor of the rate of callbacks, an internship on the resume actually worked much better than a business degree itself.

Yet class-action lawyers and labor activists now attack internships as — in the trendy, elastic new term — “wage theft.” These same lawyers and activists go to court demanding millions of dollars retrospectively over arrangements both sides understood perfectly well at the time to be unpaid — and think shakedowns like these should *not* be called “theft.” …

In modern America, it’s never more than a short jump from “this set-up isn’t for everyone” to “let’s ban it.”

I go on to discuss the sclerosis of the European job market, especially when it comes to youth employment, and observe that the “campaign against internships is part of a wider campaign against low-pay work options in general — call it a campaign to get rid of any stepping stones in the stream that aren’t sturdy enough to support a whole family.” And I note the curious contrast with higher education pointed out by my colleague Andrew Coulson: “Paying to Learn Nothing = Legal. Paying Nothing to Learn = Illegal.” Earlier coverage here. And adapted with additional material into a longer Cato version here.

Goodbye to most unpaid internships?

AP:

Unpaid internships have long been a path of opportunity for students and recent grads looking to get a foot in the door in the entertainment, publishing and other prominent industries, even if it takes a generous subsidy from Mom and Dad.

But those days of working for free could be numbered after a federal judge in New York ruled this week that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage and overtime laws by not paying interns who worked on production of the 2010 movie “Black Swan.”

More: Dylan Matthews, Washington Post, and earlier here, here, etc.

P.S. “There will still be one place to still get unpaid internships — Congress, since they exempt themselves from these laws.” [Coyote]

Cato internships for graduating law students

Ilya Shapiro has the details at Cato at Liberty about a way to soften the discomfort of a still-weak job market for law grads:

…the Cato Institute invites graduating (and recently graduated) law students and others with firm deferrals or post-grad funding—or simply a period of unemployment—to apply to work at our Center for Constitutional Studies. This is an opportunity to assist projects ranging from Supreme Court amicus briefs to policy papers to the Cato Supreme Court Review. Start/end dates are flexible.

“Employers grow reluctant to offer internships following complaints”

Gee, thanks, lawsuit-filers: “Internships can be the key to the start of a successful career, but the positions are getting harder to find because a lot of employers are now nervous to offer them.” [KHOU] A New York attorney has filed a much-publicized series of suits seeking class action status to represent unpaid interns at organizations including Harper’s Bazaar magazine and the Charlie Rose show. [Atlantic Wire]

Relatedly or otherwise, a federal judge has dismissed the class action filed by social activist Jonathan Tasini alleging that the Huffington Post was violating the rights of its unpaid bloggers by basing a profitable media platform on their work. [Reuters, AP]

Thank goodness this sort of thing doesn’t happen in politics or the media

“The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that BNY Mellon has agreed to pay $14.8 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by providing valuable student internships to family members of foreign government officials affiliated with a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.” [SEC press release, WSJ] The SEC said at least three offspring from influential families lacked “the requisite academic or professional credentials” for the internships and proved to be “less than exemplary employees.” [Business Insider] While publicly shaming the bank, the commission did not see fit to name the foreign country involved. Similar probes on intern hiring have been aimed at other big financial institutions including J.P. Morgan, accused of hiring the children of Chinese officials [Reuters]

Study: minimum wage hurt employment, earnings, mobility for low-skill workers

“We find that this period’s binding minimum wage increases reduced low-skilled individuals’ average monthly incomes. Relative to low-skilled workers in unbound states, targeted workers’ average incomes fell by $100 over the first year and by an additional $50 over the following 2 years.” Workers with college education were pushed in part toward work without pay, such as internships, while workers with lower educational attainments simply experienced more joblessness. [Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither, Cato Research Briefs in Economic Policy, March]

Related: “Raise the Wage Act Is More Rhetoric than Reality” [James Dorn, Cato] “Promises Made, Promises Broken: The Failure of Washington State’s Minimum Wage Law” [Maxford Nelsen, Freedom Foundation of Washington]

Labor and employment roundup

  • Mach Mining v. EEOC: unanimous SCOTUS, Kagan writing, agrees courts can hold EEOC to legal duty of pretrial conciliation, but prescribes narrower review than employer asked, with no commission duty of good-faith negotiation [Maatman et al; earlier on case here, here, and here; earlier from me on EEOC record of frequent losses in court]
  • New “ambush election” rules: “Your Privacy Has Just Been Compromised, Thanks To Obama’s NLRB” [Labor Union Report]
  • U.K. controversy parallels ours: “Banning unpaid internships will harm, not help, the disadvantaged” [Andrew Lilico, IEA]
  • “U.S. signed agreement with Mexico to teach immigrants to unionize” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner]
  • Another view on bias-law “Utah compromise” [Dana Beyer, Huffington Post; my critical view]
  • Advice to employers: “OSHA is not your friend. It is not there to give you an atta-boy on workplace safety. It is there to find violations and levy fines to make money for OSHA.” [Jon Hyman]
  • “CA: Failing to Pay Prevailing Wages May Be Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage” affording competitors a cause of action [Garret Murai via TortsProf]

“Former intern drops lawsuit against David Letterman”

Mallory Musallam had been a plaintiff in a class-action suit seeking minimum wage and overtime against the talk-show host on behalf of former interns. Now she has apologized and withdrawn her name, saying “lawsuit-hungry attorneys” had approached her at “a weak vulnerable time, facing student debt” and talked her into taking part in an action whose exact nature she didn’t recognize. “I cannot apologize enough for this debacle. I do not believe in getting something for nothing — that’s not how I was raised.” Her “now-former lawyer, Lloyd Ambinder, did not return a call for comment.” [N.Y. Daily News]