Magazine management needs to pay attention to the thorny issue of unpaid internships
U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III ruled last week that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage laws and employment standards by not paying two interns who worked on production of a movie.
In the ruling [said an Associated Press story] Pauley said Fox should have paid the two interns who filed the lawsuit because they did the same work as regular employees, provided value to the company and performed low-level tasks that didn’t require any specialized training.Now Canadian magazines are a little out of Judge Pauley III's jurisdiction, but as we know such trends tend to drift north and Canadian publishers can't afford to be insouciant about this. So long as Canadian magazine employers build this large pool of transient, disposable labour they increase the likelihood that someone will take a run at them.
Two days after the Pauley ruling, two former interns at the New Yorker and W Magazine sued parent company Conde Nast Publications. According to a Reuters story
"Lauren Ballinger, an intern at W Magazine for several months in 2009, and Matthew Leib, who had internships at the New Yorker in 2009 and 2010, said Conde Nast violated federal labor laws.
"Ballinger received $12 a day to organize accessories, run personal errands for editors and make deliveries to vendors. Leib got a flat rate of $300 to $500 for each three- to four-month internship, which included reviewing submissions to the New Yorker's "Shouts and Murmurs" section, responding to emails sent to the magazine, proofreading and opening mail.
"The lawsuit, which seeks a class action on behalf of all affected Conde Nast workers, said the Fair Labor Standards Act required the company to pay an hourly minimum wage."From the smallest cultural titles to the largest consumer magazines in this country, management has come to take for granted internships, unpaid or poorly paid.