NYU sophomore Christina Isnardi has gathered 1,000 student signatures (and counting!) on a petition to have a campus career center remove illegal unpaid internship postings.
“Isnardi cites a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers that shows that 36% of graduates received at least one job offer, compared with 37% of graduates who were unpaid interns and 60% of graduates who were paid interns. According to this survey, having an unpaid internship increases your likelihood of getting a job by only 1%.
“First, students can fight illegal unpaid internships by simply not taking them. We must become aware of our rights as interns and recognize that we are perpetuating our own exploitation,” said Isnardi. “Another way is through lawsuits. There are millions of unpaid interns who can file lawsuits, and if enough interns seek justice, the system may be brought down. Finally, more pressure needs to be put on local, state, and federal governments to enforce the labor laws that they wrote into law.”"
In the absence of oversight by the Department of Labor, the journal ProPublica is conducting a survey to gather data about the scope of illegal internships. It seeks to answer question such as how many interns are being employed in violation of federal guidelines? What role do colleges and universities play in placing them? What protections cover interns in cases of discrimination or abuse? If you have been an unpaid intern at any point between 2010 and the present, please complete the quick survey found here.
Courtesy Wronging Rights:
Do you have an interest in human rights and / or climate change? Are you “able to provide a resume”? Do you have 30,000 extra dollars lying around? Do you love the idea of working for free so much that you want to pay to do it? And are you tired of pesky internship selection processes in which applicants are unfairly pitted against each other on the basis of their actual qualifications for the position (and / or nepotism)?
Well, good news.
The RFK Center has the auction item for you. It’s a 6 week internship with the NGO Committee on Human Rights. All you have to do is fork over five figures plus $9.95 shipping and handling. (Apparently they’re going to mail the internship to you? I don’t know.)
Bidding’s currently at $26,000.