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Unpaid Internships Hurt the Labor Market

May 31, 2003

"For Grads, Finding Work Is a Tough Job" (May 25) implied that some college graduates have resorted to unpaid internships after failing to secure paid employment. The piece could have used a comment about the legality of this practice. The entertainment industry is especially flagrant in using unpaid men and women under the guise of internships.

They are nonstudents performing work without compensation and benefits. Both the intern and paid employees are victimized, while businesses profit from free labor. Eventually, the labor market as a whole is forced to settle for lower wages and weaker health coverage as a result of the proliferation of this practice.

The abuse of unpaid internships should be discouraged by more strict enforcement of the law by the California Department of Labor and the attorney general.

Jim Hergenrather

Los Angeles

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