Federal and New York State labor laws make one thing very clear – if you work, you have to get paid the minimum wage. This is so basic that it’s easy to lose sight of. Of course, people may still do charitable volunteer work. But that work has to be for public service, religious, or humanitarian purposes, and can’t be done on behalf of a for-profit corporation. You can’t “volunteer” to work for a corporation – you’re actually an unpaid employee, which is illegal. More from the U.S. Department of Labor here.
The New York Times has an article today about people “volunteering” to work for the NFL in putting on the Super Bowl, as well as for events put on by Major League Baseball. It’s disgraceful that some of the richest entities in the country would violate the law so egregiously. Even of those volunteering are doing it for the love of a sport, they are taking the place of someone who may need that job. Unpaid work hurts us all.