Tribeca Film Festival now forced to pay “interns”

March 26, 2014- A blog reports, “According to Christina Isnardi, an NYU student who worked as a crew member for the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012, the star-studded event is operated in large part by its interns. Like the volunteers at SXSW, those interns were unpaid–until now. As International Business Times reports, Tribeca Enterprises LLC, which produces the for-profit festival, will begin paying the hundreds of interns who make it happen.

The decision follows Saturday’s announcement that Madison Square Garden Co will acquire a 50 percent stake in Tribeca Enterprises, a deal valued at $45 million. While the decision to pay interns (known as “volunteers” until Tribeca changed its language in 2011) isn’t directly tied to the deal, the added attention makes it harder for the privately held company to justify using unpaid workers.

“The Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t allow volunteers in the profit-making or for-profit sector,” David C. Yamada, a law professor at Suffolk University and director of the New Workplace Institute, told IBTimes. “The whole volunteer exemption for nonprofits in public service was to honor the importance of encouraging volunteer service in our society.”

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