Monthly Archives: October 2014

What’s Happening With Intern Rights?

ILR_YearEnd2012_Cover-03The past few weeks have seen a lot of activity in the world of intern advocacy!

NBCUniversal agreed to pay $6.4 million in the largest settlement deal yet in response to a class action lawsuit brought forth by former unpaid interns. This is obviously a huge win, not only for those interns, but for interns across the media and entertainment industry whose employers must no longer ignore the consequences of flouting the labor laws.

While legal pressure has forced some of the largest and most blatant violators to pay up, many smaller companies are beginning to revisit their own practices as well. Public pressure has encouraged a small, but very well renowned design agency, Sagmeister & Walsh, to announce a change in their internship policy!

We’ve continued our collaborative efforts with NMASS in demanding the NY Department of Labor actually do its job and end wage theft against workers across all sectors of the economy. Columbia University Democrats invited activists and allies to a panel that addressed issues with the current intern economy. And a new organizing collective, Intern Worker Alliance, hosted a public meeting about ways interns can organize in their workplaces.

If you’d like to get involved and are in the New York City area, we will be meeting weekly on Monday evenings in Manhattan. Email us for specific time and location at And help us fight for fairness in the intern economy!

Unpaid Workers Unite! Biggest Rally Against Wage Theft Yet, Next Wednesday, October 15, 9am, NYC.

New York State Department of Labor, 75 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013, Map
When: Wednesday, October 15, 9am

Join Intern Labor Rights at the as we stand side-by-side with workers from the Indus Valley restaurants, the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, the Chinese Staff & Workers Association, the Flushing Workers Center, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and the Coalition for a Real Minimum-Wage Increase to tell Governor Andrew Cuomo: Enforce the Labor Law!

This will be the last rally before the November 4th election and the biggest one of all so if you’ve been unable to attend the previous monthly rallies, this is the one to make.

Each year in New York State tens of thousands of young people take on unpaid internships, hoping and believing that they will gain the training necessary to get jobs and begin their careers. The vast majority find themselves untrained and exploited. They are the victims of Wage Theft!

The New York State Department of Labor’s own guidelines on unpaid internships at For-Profit Businesses state that the vast majority of these interns are workers who have been misclassified as trainees. The guidelines say that the New York State Minimum Wage Act and Wage Orders and the federal Fair Labor Stands Act require all workers to be paid at least a minimum wage. Yet the Department of Labor does nothing to hold businesses accountable – and many of them are large, profitable multi-national corporations.

Governor Cuomo! Enforce the Labor Law!

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