Abolish Unpaid Internships
The Obama Administration, U.S. Congress, Departments of Labor, Education and Commerce, State Government, Colleges and Universities, Employers
More Info at:
This enduring cultural norm is akin to what was once the acceptability of slavery, women's suffrage and black segregation up until 1865, 1919 and 1955 respectively. In fact, the 15th Amendment was not fully enforced until 1965 with the passage of The Voting Rights Act.
History repeats itself again. Discrimination must not persist in 2010.
The injustice of unpaid internships transcends compensation and the Equal Pay Act. An intern's "trainee status" established by the Fair Labor Standards Act further propagates discriminatory practices that circumvent protections set forth under the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination Act, and the Americans with Disability Act.
This Petition represents the highest order of social protest.
We must send the Obama Administration a very pointed message: Unpaid internships are unethical. They discriminate against the very same citizens responsible for the "change movement" that elected this Administration and they exacerbate the hardships among this constituency faced with an abysmal labor market with youth unemployment now at a post-War high.
By signing this Petition, you exercise your First Amendment right of free expression to embolden our unified stance and endorse the reforms we put forth to remedy this injustice amid Fair Market Labor.
Below for your consideration is the Intern Bill of Rights, which - for concision herein - references these 10 Rights by title only. We encourage you to examine the full Intern Bill of Rights and Proposed Reforms available at: http://www.InternshipInstitute.org and to participate through lively, thoughtful debate at: http://www.PayInterns.com.
THE INTERN BILL OF RIGHTS
I. To Fair Wages
II. To an Unbounded Trainee Status
III. To Equal Opportunity Internships
IV. To Anti-Discrimination Protection
V. To Freedom from Tuition Extortion and Misappropriation
VI. To Freedom From Credit as Compensation
VII. To Abundant Internship Opportunities
VIII. To Quality Work Experience
IX. To Standardized Career Guidance and Skills Training
X. To Freedom from Debt
OUR CALL TO ACTION
Abolishing unpaid intern slave labor needn't warrant a Joint Resolution of Congress to pass a constitutional amendment (though Congress is culpable). Instead - with this Petition and based upon our Proposed Reforms - we call upon President Obama to sign an Executive Order and champion swift remedial action within his Administration - particularly the Department of Labor and Department of Education - as well as by all responsible parties called upon to support the Intern Bill of Rights and Proposed Reforms.
Signing this Petition to declare and defend an intern's human rights is but a battle cry. Next we must wage this revolution. Our Proposed Reforms provide the means to emerge triumphant. It is the victory of change that matters most. And so - in our united call to bear arms - WE MUST MAKE OUR PEN MIGHTIER.
Please encourage everyone you know to sign this Petition and for them to do the same.
Join us. Change the world for the better. Help youth workers secure the equal rights, freedom and justice they deserve. Abolish unpaid internships.
Internships are indeed an American institution, rooted not just in decades of evolution, among which exists a culture of free labor, but also in centuries of Apprenticeship and its role in ones' individual prosperity and our collective economic vitality.
While we abhor unpaid internships, we must acknowledge the necessity to balance our call for universal pay with the achievability of that goal. This injustice cannot fully be rectified overnight, especially in light of our current economic climate. But that should not delay the initiation and progress of meaningful reform, which will take considerable time.
This is the logic behind our phased approach for implementing our Proposed Reforms. Our highest priority must be to stimulate opportunity, not stifle it. There is a way. It begins by assuring the quality and integrity of the internship experience by giving employers the education, incentives and support as well as revising the current U.S. Department of Labor compensation exemption guidelines that utterly defy logic.
We must also acknowledge the much bigger picture. "The Case for Intern Compensation" directly correlates with a number of interrelated issues including - but not limited to - college affordability and accessibility; graduate conversion rates and matriculation duration; equal opportunity employment and social stratification; the reduced accessibility to adequate student loans and the related immediate and long-term debt burden; and abusive practices by businesses to leverage 'free labor' as an alternative to what might otherwise be paid job opportunities for unemployed workers. The Internship Institute is in the process of publishing a White Paper to address the entire "Internship Eco-System" and propose even greater reforms to harness the power of internships to fulfill the promise of American Youth.
ABOUT THE INTERNSHIP INSTITUTE
The Internship Institute (TII) is an action-oriented non-profit public charity (501c3) solely dedicated to help emerging professionals obtain quality work experience as a vital part of their career path to gainful employment. Our mission is to bridge the gaps between classroom learning and workplace ability to foster America's economic revitalization, global competitiveness and long-term prosperity.
TII's mantra: "There is no substitute for experience" is what drives our commitment to "Make Internships Matter." Our core ambition is to construct a seamless school-to-employment talent pipeline of graduates. This nationwide initiative will empower students to achieve career success and satisfy ever-increasing industry demands for a skilled workforce.
As ambitious as this vision may be, TII has innovated the resources, methodologies and strategic blueprint to achieve it. Actualizing this systemic change will require unparalleled collaboration, many thousands of people, billions of dollars and decades to achieve. TII embraces this challenge with unwavering passion, dedication and resolve.
See full Intern Bill of Rights and Proposed Reforms at www.PayInterns.com
WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO MAKE YOUR EMAIL AVAILABLE TO THE PETITION AUTHOR SO WE MAY SHARE AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE COMING WEEKS. (WE PROMISE TO PROTECT AND RESPECT YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION).