It's About Time We Started Paying Interns
Cullen Seltzer on the 'Black Swan' ruling
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2013 1:25 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The unpaid Black Swan interns who sued Fox Searchlight over having to perform menial tasks like making coffee won their case last week: A federal judge ruled that not paying the interns was a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. It's about time, writes Cullen Seltzer on Slate. In order to fairly go without pay, interns must receive training on the job, so this ruling is fair to all the coffee-making interns of the world. But, though it was decreed in a district court and thus only applies in that district, let's hope it spreads to the rest of the country—because unpaid internships hurt paid workers, too.

Employers want cheap labor, and interns provide free labor. That means entry-level positions that would otherwise be available to workers who actually need money are eliminated. So, even if you think the interns in this case are whining and should have known what they were getting into, consider all the consequences of unpaid internships: "distorted wages, exploitation of interns, a race to the bottom of the wage scale, and an erosion of the law's protections for workers." The judge's ruling is exactly "the sort of intrusion in the marketplace" the government should be making in order to "regulate commerce." Click for Seltzer's full column.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
It's About Time We Started Paying Interns is...
1%
0%
1%
84%
0%
15%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 33 comments
crankydude
Jun 19, 2013 8:49 PM CDT
Now let's get the treating surgeon who has always been well paid, to perform the surgery his anesthetized patients think he is going to. Or sit down and explain to them what may be buried in small print
bluscot
Jun 19, 2013 8:48 AM CDT
This whole thing is nonsense. In some industries, interns may need to learn job specific technical skills. In the entertainment industry, it is almost entirely a who-you-know-how-you-deal-with-them industry. I know the term "getting coffee" is geared to drive you lefties and feminists nuts; but, it is a lawyer's ploy. While fetching and carrying you interact with people in the industry and you observe (and hopefully learn) how to deal with people in the industry. These interns absolutely got what they bargained for and have no intrinsic, or even legally specific, "right" to financial compensation. Only in a heavily unionized state could this kind of ruling be made.
jsehgal
Jun 18, 2013 11:19 PM CDT
Dream on baby! Employers want paid internships too. But they want the interns to pay for the privilege!