Monday, May 2, 2011
Thanks to friend of the blog, David Yamada, for sending news of a new book that focuses on the rising use of unpaid interns: Intern Nation by Ross Perlin. From the book's description,
The first no-holds-barred exposé of the exploitative and divisive world of internships.
Every year, between 1 and 2 million Americans work as interns. They famously shuttle coffee in a thousand newsrooms, congressional offices, and Hollywood studios, but they also deliver aid in Afghanistan, build the human genome, and pick up garbage. They are increasingly of all ages, and their numbers are growing fast—from 17 percent of college graduates in 1992 to 50 percent in 2008. Almost half of all internships are illegal under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and this mass exploitation saves firms more than $600 million each year. Interns enjoy no workplace protections and no standing in courts of law—let alone benefits like healthcare.
Ross Perlin, an ex-intern himself, has written the first exposé of this world of drudgery and aspiration. In this witty, astonishing, and serious investigative work, Perlin takes the reader inside both boutique nonprofits and megacorporations such as Disney (which employs 8,000 interns at Disney World alone). He profiles fellow interns, talks to historians about what unleashed this phenomenon, and explains why governments in the US and Europe may finally be moving to rein in the internship boom.
Insightful and humorous, Intern Nation will transform the way we think about the culture of work.
David does a thorough review of the book on his blog, Minding the Workplace, outlining the book and offering a link to his article (cited in the book as the best single source of information for American internships and the law) The Employment Law Rights of Student Interns.