Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

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LSL
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Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby LSL » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:25 pm

So, I like discussing labor law issues. I know others do too. This is the thread for that.

To start, I'll pose these questions: What do we think about unpaid internships? Our industry, like many, is heavily dependent on work from unpaid labor. The experience is great and probably better than not having the opportunity/experience at all if an employer decided not to take an intern because they had to pay. But we all know we're MAF about not getting paid. Should anything be done to require employers to pay at least something? Discuss.

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I.P. Daly
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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby I.P. Daly » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:16 pm

Perhaps instead of hourly pay, implement some kind of tax exempt stipend system with extremely stringent requirements (say, the six prong internship test to determine if the internship is eligible)?

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby LSL » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:04 am

I've done a lot of labor law work, but I haven't taken the course yet :). This must be the FLSA standard you're referencing. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf. Damn. It seems like interns must generally have a hard time getting around parts 1 and 6 of the test.

1. The internship, even though it includes actual operations of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment.

6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.


Hmm, a tax exempt stipend is an idea. You're saying if the internship position meets the reqs of this test, employers could apply for a tax exemption? State funding/offset of costs is certainly one way to go when the private market doesn't want to support a needed commodity.
Last edited by LSL on Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

apollo2015
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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby apollo2015 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:11 am

There should be no unpaid internships.

Collectively, the working class needs to compel businesses into going back to considering the costs of training/credentialing workers to be a normal business expense that they have to budget for, rather than expecting the workers to go through the training/credentialing period for free.
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Also, I love the idea of this thread!

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LSL
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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby LSL » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:28 am

apollo2015 wrote:There should be no unpaid internships.

Collectively, the working class needs to compel businesses into going back to considering the costs of training/credentialing workers to be a normal business expense that they have to budget for, rather than expecting the workers to go through the training/credentialing period for free.
---
Also, I love the idea of this thread!


Thanks! :D

Yeah, I'm working in an office now where I'm starting to notice all the "loopholes" in the labor market. I tend to agree that we need to find a way to get paid internships though I'm sympathetic to the idea of state funding/cost-offset. That would probably help avoid higher youth unemployment like in Europe where some countries mandate paid internships. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/05/europes-record-youth-unemployment-the-scariest-graph-in-the-world-just-got-scarier/276423/. Germany has the lowest (10%) and they have unpaid internships. The U.S's is 16.1% (still lower than many Euro countries).

Hard to say though. Denmark requires internship payment and their youth unemployment is only 12.2%.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby swc65 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:57 am

Why require payment at all? As the OP stated, the value of an internship or job is not fully represented by the wage earned while on that job. If the relationship is voluntary, honest, and mutually beneficial, what business does anyone else have in mandating a wage?

Are internships necessarily costless just because a the intern does not receive a wage? If an employer somehow profits from interns, is that necessarily bad? If the intern gets valuable experience or exposure or acquires a resume line that will allow him/her to get a higher wage later (higher actual pay or a greater probability of getting a job), why would anyone want to interfere with that relationship? Further, we are students! WE ARE PAYING TO WORK! Shit, a zero wage and zero cost and gaining valuable experience or exposure is an awesome deal compared to law school/most colleges!


Which is better, 100 internships at a zero wage or 50 internships at a mandated wage (clearly these are made up numbers but they illustrate the point)? If mandating a wage reduces internship slots, then doesnt the mandate really only benefit some at the expense of others? Think of some of the internships for organizations that have very limited budgets (labor organizations, both governmental and otherwise, are both prestigious and cash-strapped). IF they had to pay their interns in addition to bearing the costs of an internship program, applicant screening, training, and monitoring, would they offer the same number of internships? I doubt it. Don't we want more students to have more opportunities that may increase their long-term economic potential rather than limiting opportunities based on a third party's perception of the morality of the voluntary and mutually beneficial relationship?


Why not focus on the interns themselves instead of the employer? One source of inequality might be that less affluent students cannot afford an internship and must accept a less valuable position in order to get cash now and must forsake the greater long-term value of prestigious or more useful internships. Why not create a stipend program targeted at low income families in order to mitigate this concern?

Alternatively, why not use policy to lower the cost of internships? Why not create better ways to match interns/organizations? I'd bet my left nut that there are many organizations that would love some interns and can offer valuable experience to those interns but dont have the time/money/manpower/or other resources to create and maintain a intern program.

Think too about the types of businesses/organizations that would be most affected by a ban on unpaid internships. Would the ban have a greater effect on large, profitable companies or smaller operations?

A family-owned air conditioning repair company that barely earns a living might well be willing to allow a student to tag along and learn something in exchange for "helping out" when possible, but be unable or unwilling to also fork over cash to an intern/apprentice.


/end bar-prep procrastination lol

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby swc65 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:27 am

apollo2015 wrote:There should be no unpaid internships.

Collectively, the working class needs to compel businesses into going back to considering the costs of training/credentialing workers to be a normal business expense that they have to budget for, rather than expecting the workers to go through the training/credentialing period for free.
---
Also, I love the idea of this thread!



WHY? Your statement seems to have no basis other than a moralistic view regarding the duty of employers. Why do you think that employers are best suited to create and operate programs to train/credential workers? How many types of workers are there in a large company? Should the company be obligated to become an expert in teaching each of those classes of workers? IF workers can get higher quality, cheaper or otherwise more valuable training/credentialing elsewhere, why force employers to do it?

Also, what would be the focus an employer's training program? Most likely the program would be narrowly tailored to teaching the skills that the employer needs and not training broader skill sets that the worker might find more valuable. Wouldn't that put the worker at a disadvantage because his/her skills would probably be much less transferable? Wouldn't the worker then have to more intensely retrain every time s/he transferred jobs?

BTW, an internship is not necessarily a free trial period where the employer profits off slave-children. How useful do you think interns really are, generally, especially at the beginning? How many first day medical interns are performing triple bypasses? Hopefully none. Why? because their inexperienced and they're interning to gain experience which will, hopefully, help them earn a wage. How many office interns even know where the file cabinets are or have ever used that companies technology suite. Bringing on interns is a training program. You give them the opportunity to gain skills/learn shit, they hopefully don't burn down the joint and may even do one or two things right during their time.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby Nothing but the Funk » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:26 am

I think the big problem with an unpaid internship is living expenses. Personally, I would have no problem breaking even on an internship, meaning enough to pay for rent, utilities, cheap food, etc., but I am less than thrilled about the idea of taking on more debt to work for someone. Especially considering the average debt load upon graduation is already too high.

I think the closest analogy would be like apprenticeships used to be. You did not make a lot in wages but your room and board was taken cared of. So you might not have been making money but you also weren't really losing money.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby LSL » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:03 pm

Why not focus on the interns themselves instead of the employer? One source of inequality might be that less affluent students cannot afford an internship and must accept a less valuable position in order to get cash now and must forsake the greater long-term value of prestigious or more useful internships. Why not create a stipend program targeted at low income families in order to mitigate this concern?


Certainly there's the reality that more affluent students can "afford" to take on an unpaid internship, but that doesn't remove the well-accepted principle that work should be monetarily compensated. "Sorry, you're too rich for us to fairly compensate you with money" is a controversial labor policy. :P

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LSL
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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby LSL » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:11 pm

Nothing but the Funk wrote:I think the big problem with an unpaid internship is living expenses. Personally, I would have no problem breaking even on an internship, meaning enough to pay for rent, utilities, cheap food, etc., but I am less than thrilled about the idea of taking on more debt to work for someone. Especially considering the average debt load upon graduation is already too high.

I think the closest analogy would be like apprenticeships used to be. You did not make a lot in wages but your room and board was taken cared of. So you might not have been making money but you also weren't really losing money.


Breaking even would be a great improvement. Especially in major legal markets like NY and DC where cost of living is extremely high. An unpaid summer internship can cost quite a bit.

Rent: 3x 1500=$4,500
Food: 3x 300=$900
Transportation: 3x 100=$300

So, $5,700 reasonably needing to be paid in DC/NY over a summer where tuition isn't provided (since it normally only covers 9 months). Pretty crazy.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby swc65 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:10 pm

LSL wrote:
Why not focus on the interns themselves instead of the employer? One source of inequality might be that less affluent students cannot afford an internship and must accept a less valuable position in order to get cash now and must forsake the greater long-term value of prestigious or more useful internships. Why not create a stipend program targeted at low income families in order to mitigate this concern?


Certainly there's the reality that more affluent students can "afford" to take on an unpaid internship, but that doesn't remove the well-accepted principle that work should be monetarily compensated. "Sorry, you're too rich for us to fairly compensate you with money" is a controversial labor policy. :P



Why does work have to "monetarily compensated?" Is your school paying you for the work you do? Most likely it's the other way around. Why do you pay the law school? Because they are providing something of value in exchange. As I said in my excessively long rant, it is overly simplistic to measure compensation based solely on the immediate monetary reward received. Internships/any work experience can deliver non-monetary benefits or future monetary or non-monetary benefits. The hourly wage received is a ridiculous yardstick. How much is a SCOTUS clerkship worth? The 40K (or whatever) they pay you during the clerkship? Should you ignore the huge bonuses and expanded opportunities the clerkship awards the clerk? Though probably to lesser degree, unpaid internship can benefit the intern similarly.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby swc65 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:13 pm

Nothing but the Funk wrote:I think the big problem with an unpaid internship is living expenses. Personally, I would have no problem breaking even on an internship, meaning enough to pay for rent, utilities, cheap food, etc., but I am less than thrilled about the idea of taking on more debt to work for someone. Especially considering the average debt load upon graduation is already too high.

I think the closest analogy would be like apprenticeships used to be. You did not make a lot in wages but your room and board was taken cared of. So you might not have been making money but you also weren't really losing money.


True enough. Eliminating unpaid internships ain't free! Someone is going to have to pay for it. I'd bet good money it ain't going to be the big rich companies that ultimately suffer.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby swc65 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:18 pm

LSL wrote:
Why not focus on the interns themselves instead of the employer? One source of inequality might be that less affluent students cannot afford an internship and must accept a less valuable position in order to get cash now and must forsake the greater long-term value of prestigious or more useful internships. Why not create a stipend program targeted at low income families in order to mitigate this concern?


Certainly there's the reality that more affluent students can "afford" to take on an unpaid internship, but that doesn't remove the well-accepted principle that work should be monetarily compensated. "Sorry, you're too rich for us to fairly compensate you with money" is a controversial labor policy. :P



Isn't that the same as saying "Sorry you're too rich for a Pell Grant or food stamps?" It would be a subsidy program targeted at the economically disadvantaged. I'm not saying force companies only to pay poor people. Im suggesting something like extending a Pell Grant type of program to help less affluent student be able to avoid taking less valuable internships or initial jobs simply because they need money immediately. Or just extend fed loans to cover living expenses during the summer.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby LSL » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:12 pm

Anyone looking to get into labor law when you graduate? I'd like to work for a labor union, but your loans aren't forgivable under PSLF if you work for one. So, I'll have to figure something else out.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:17 pm

I thought very seriously about it and interviewed for a couple of labor law jobs (not with unions, though). Got something else in a totally different area first, though.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby Tom Joad » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:24 pm

LSL wrote:Anyone looking to get into labor law when you graduate? I'd like to work for a labor union, but your loans aren't forgivable under PSLF if you work for one. So, I'll have to figure something else out.

I think some employer side work would be really interesting and fulfilling. The litigation type, not handbook writing.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby gaud » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:25 pm

tag

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I.P. Daly
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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby I.P. Daly » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:33 pm

Tom Joad wrote:
LSL wrote:Anyone looking to get into labor law when you graduate? I'd like to work for a labor union, but your loans aren't forgivable under PSLF if you work for one. So, I'll have to figure something else out.

I think some employer side work would be really interesting and fulfilling. The litigation type, not handbook writing.


I spoke with a union busting attorney. He's received death threats, been followed, and had his car windows smashed in, among other things.

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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby Tom Joad » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:35 pm

I.P. Daly wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:
LSL wrote:Anyone looking to get into labor law when you graduate? I'd like to work for a labor union, but your loans aren't forgivable under PSLF if you work for one. So, I'll have to figure something else out.

I think some employer side work would be really interesting and fulfilling. The litigation type, not handbook writing.


I spoke with a union busting attorney. He's received death threats, been followed, and had his car windows smashed in, among other things.

Hopefully he lives in a "stand your ground" state.

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LSL
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Re: Say "Hey Johnny Boy" the Labor Law Thread

Postby LSL » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:44 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I thought very seriously about it and interviewed for a couple of labor law jobs (not with unions, though). Got something else in a totally different area first, though.


That's cool. Maybe you'd be able to do some pro bono labor work on the side? Seems like PI places are always looking for extra help.

I.P. Daly wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:
LSL wrote:Anyone looking to get into labor law when you graduate? I'd like to work for a labor union, but your loans aren't forgivable under PSLF if you work for one. So, I'll have to figure something else out.

I think some employer side work would be really interesting and fulfilling. The litigation type, not handbook writing.


I spoke with a union busting attorney. He's received death threats, been followed, and had his car windows smashed in, among other things.


If I get in with a union Joad, I'll report back on what actually happened to Jimmy Hoffa. You could make it a great case. :wink:




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