TO THE EDITOR:
Unpaid internships are an abuse of power. When any worker contributes more to an employer than the employer invests in the worker, the employer decides how to divide that profit.
In an unpaid internship, the employer chooses to keep it all. We have laws to prevent this abuse.
The intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act is ensuring that all workers, including interns, are entitled to a fair portion of their contribution. In most cases, unpaid internships violate that law.
Whether an intern voluntarily accepted the unpaid internship is irrelevant, in the same way that any other worker cannot voluntarily work for less than minimum wage; employers may not accept unpaid or underpaid work.