Day Before Covering Fast-Food 'Living Wage' Protests, MSNBC.com Writer Wished for 'Unpaid Intern'

The day before he pounded the pavement in Durham, North Carolina, to cover fast-food employees protesting for a $15/hour "living wage" and the right to unionize, MSNBC.com writer and All In w/Chris Hayes reporter Ned Resnikoff posted a tweet wishing for the services of an unpaid intern. 

"Seeking an unpaid intern to generate #content. Will be paid in college credit and Hot Takes," Resnikoff tweeted at 3:01 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. While he gave no Web link for interested parties, the lefty Lean Forward does indeed employ interns who are compensated in academic credit, but judging by the official website, no actual monetary compensation. In July 2013, a few former Saturday Night Live and msnbc.com interns sued NBC Universal. Here's an excerpt of how The Hollywood Reporter covered the news at the time:


The avalanche of lawsuits on the internship front keeps coming.

The latest is a proposed class action against NBCUniversal from Jesse Moore, who says he worked 24-hour-or-more weeks in the booking department at MSNBC in 2011, and Monet Eliastam, who says she worked 25-hour-or-more weeks on the staff of Saturday Night Live in 2012.

They are being represented by Outten & Golden, the same law firm that represented two former Black Swan interns in a summary judgment win against Fox Searchlight last month.

According to the complaint, “By misclassifying Plaintiffs and hundreds of workers as unpaid or underpaid interns, NBCUniversal has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees, including unemployment, workers’ compensation insurance, social security contributions, and, most crucially, the right to earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.”

The plaintiffs believe that the amount of money in controversy exceeds $5 million.

The latest lawsuit adds to the growing intern-lawsuit canon. In recent weeks, Conde Nast, Gawker, Warner Music and others have been sued for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay minimum wage to interns. The timing of these lawsuits is no coincidence after the Fox litigation broke ground on the subject. Since then, Hollywood attorneys have been preparing.

This class action against NBCU alleging violations of the FLSA and New York Labor Laws estimates hundreds of interns in the proposed class. The complaint seeks unpaid wages, interest, and attorneys fees and costs for interns who worked at NBCUniversal between July 3, 2010, and the date of a final judgment.

NewsBusters.org's parent company, the Media Research Center, likewise has an internship program which can result in college credit. Unlike MSNBC, however, ours also pays an hourly wage, which our intern coordinators tell me is presently $11/hour.

 

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters