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The Giants and Marlins are under investigation for wage violations

Oct 25, 2013, 5:06 PM EDT

Realistic vector magnifying glass

This is interesting:

Two Major League Baseball clubs–the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins—are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for possible federal wage law violations. The investigations come amid wider concern about questionable pay practices throughout professional baseball, according to interviews and records obtained by FairWarning under the Freedom of Information Act.

The concern: unpaid interns who aren’t really doing intern work. Clubhouse employees who aren’t getting overtime. Stuff in that vein.

This is an expansion of the stuff we heard earlier this year about the Giants, who settled with clubhouse workers who were found to be making less than minimum wage.  According to the documents obtained, however, the government is looking at all of Major League Baseball now, and there is a suggestion that the problem is “endemic.”

There have been many cases recently in various industries concerning unpaid internships. Fashion. Publishing. Industries where scads of people compete for jobs and are willing to work for free to get their foot in the door. Some courts have found that these workers have been taken advantage of, which in turn has led to pretty significant changes in internship programs. Or, in some case, their elimination.  I have no idea whether baseball is doing things how they should be, but I will say that the dynamic in baseball is similar to that of other glamorous, high profile industries. Tons of people who want in and who will take little if anything to get their foot in the door.

Worth watching.

  1. gerwinke1985 - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Lol the Marlins don’t surprise me one bit. Is there a cheaper owner in any other professional sport?

    • Old Gator - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      Scrooge McLoria taking unfair advantage of his workers? I’ll believe it when I see….Hey! Look at that….!

      • beavertonsteve - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:45 PM

        I found one of the Marlins job descriptions for an unpaid internship-

        Available: One year internship program with the Miami Marlins organization. Minimum qualifications: Must be able to hit .235 with ability to play middle infield or outfield.Must be eligible to work in the US or be able to provide documents that make it appear you are. No promise of future paid employment is inferred by this opportunity. Send applications to Dan Jennings.

      • Old Gator - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:58 AM

        I think it actually reads “no promise of future employment is guaranteed if you hit better than .235 and become arbitration eligible.”

  2. Mark Armour - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    I am confused by the “intern” rules. I spent some time in the Hall of Fame library this summer, and the main people I worked with were unpaid interns who seemed to work 40 hours per week and do just as much work (and not dissimilar work) to the people in the offices.

    • cohnjusack - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:57 PM

      Because interning is B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. It’s free labor that takes advantage of outdated rules for real-world training. One of the proudest moments in my work life was killing the unpaid internship program at the college I worked for. It was a “performing arts” school, and the students got great training in such performing arts professions as filing and data entry. Come on! Now, they work for the school and get paid for it. It’s a wonderfully novel idea that I came up with called “Capitalism”.

      • gerwinke1985 - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:17 PM

        Modern day slavery = Internship. Spent a year interning at a hospital in my field before I could graduate. Interns typically do more work than the actual employees. At least they did at my site…

  3. drewsylvania - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Corporation bleeds employee. Film at 11.

  4. cohnjusack - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Baseball: An industry that pays Ty Wigginton $5 million dollars to come up to the plate 63 times, but can’t scrounge up $7.25 an hour to pay others.

    • paperlions - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:57 PM

      In fairness, they are probably just striving to live up to their standing as “America’s Pastime”.

  5. spudchukar - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Stuff in that vein. Had me there for a minute Craig, thought heroin was a perk, or something.

  6. sandrafluke2012 - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    I’m sure San Fran’s owner is a liberal.

    • jrd8523 - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      Charles Johnson is the majority owner of the Giants and is a large Republican donor.

    • cohnjusack - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Wow, are you an idiot.

      Here are some of the campaign contributions made by their “liberal” owner (data from
      $9,800—Republican Party of Kentucky
      $7,300—National Republican Congressional Cmte
      $2,600—Gomez, Gabriel (Republican Senate Candidate from MA)
      $2,600—Boehner, John
      $2,600—McConnell, Mitch

      And that’s just in 2013…a non-election year!

      So Sandra, will you apologize for being an idiot or conveniently ignore this post?

      • thisdamnbox - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:43 PM

        Wow, is there a billionaire owner in MLB that isn’t Republican? Stupid Liberals, all caring for people and animals and the earth and shit…Foolish jerkoffs…(commence explosion of nonsensical political rage…)

  7. clydeserra - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    @sandrafluke* you would be wrong about the San Francisco team.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:01 PM

      Not surprisingly, sandrafluke* is wrong about a lot of things.

      • paperlions - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        But she was right that one time.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        Right about what? That SF ownership are “liberals”? I am sure that sandrafluke*’s definition is a tad off.

        MLB, with all it’s military grandstanding, deep pocket cronyism, drug paranoia, high ticket price structure, policy wonk stadium public funding is far from being a union of Liberals.

      • bigdicktater - Oct 26, 2013 at 8:00 AM

        I think paperlions meant that the “one time” she was right was a fluke. No?

  8. anjichpa - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    For anyone wondering, the Department of Labor outlines 6 criteria for whether an internship can be unpaid or not. Employers need to meet all six:

    > 1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
    > 2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
    > 3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
    > 4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
    > 5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
    > 6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

  9. nickmiller63 - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Actually, @clydeserra, the article you cite demonstrates that the Giants’ ownership is in fact “blue.” I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • clydeserra - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:06 PM

      I can’t see the tables on the mobil device. But majority owner giving $200k to r’ s seems like red owners

  10. sandrafluke2012 - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Unions are the most anti-black racist organizations. THey were created to protect middle-class whites from blacks.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      You are a desperate little boy, wearing the dress of a woman who reminds you of your utter futility. Pathetic.

      • sandrafluke2012 - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:06 PM

        Why are you so anti-Semitic against Milton Friedman?

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:22 PM

        Why are you a living piece of shit?

        Go back to Nutso Breitbart, Ben. You’re trash.

      • Old Gator - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:55 AM

        I think the “fluke” in “sandrafluke” must refer to one of those parasites that eats brains. It certainly seems to have done a number on poor witless sandy’s corpus collosum.

  11. righthandofjustice - Oct 25, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    The Giants just extended Tim Freaking Lincecum for $17.5 million a year and Hunter Pence for 1.8 billion pennies per… and yet they were found exploiting poor interns… Good joke!

    It is a good thing for our society if all the MLB teams and the officials are thoroughly investigated by the government.

    While people complain about players like A-Rod, V. Wells and Pujols making outrageous money, let not forget Bud Selig is making $22 million a year for doing… well, you tell me what???

    Those unfairly enriched baseball people should all give the money back to the severely exploited poor intern kids.

  12. skipcastaneda - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    As a former clubbie for a minor league team, I can say it’s very hard work, working very long hours to get your foot in the door.
    I got $250 every two weeks from the team, and basically worked for tips. In most cases, I made just as much as the players. Not very much. This wasn’t minor league baseball sanctioned by MLB, this was Indy ball. The old Western Baseball League. There was no money there. I did it for a summer. The league folded two years later.
    There were times I felt taken advantage of. But a few of my co-workers moved on to the organized minors and are doing well now.

    • misterj167 - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Well at least in the Western Baseball League you knew they weren’t exactly swimming in money, pro teams make billions in profits, they can afford to get by without interns.

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