Ross Eisenbrey, the Vice-President of the Economic Policy Institute ("EPI"), was on the Colbert Report last night discussing unpaid internships; watch it here (my American readers can watch it here). EPI has been at the forefront of identifying the serious threat that unpaid internships represent to the labour market. It has developed cutting-edge research that traces the scope of the rise of this form of precarious employment and the detrimental impact that unpaid internships have had on the youth labour market.
As Mr. Eisenbury posits in a recent editorial "Unpaid work is exploitation. It is illegal, and colleges and universities should reexamine their role in promoting it. And as Ross Perlin, the author of Intern Nation bluntly puts it, 'It's time to enforce the law'." EPI research is excellent and I highly recommend reading the reports "No-So-Equal Protection - Reforming the Regulation of Unpaid Internships" and "Unpaid internships hurt mobility". Beyond that it's great to see that this issue is entering the mainstream media for discussion as it's a long overdue development and sorely needed. Below check out Ross Perlin talking about the scourge of unpaid internships in the United States in relation to structural joblessness and youth unemployment, see: