Target: Mr. Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate Majority Leader
Goal: Introduce legislation that limits interns to working 40 hours per week.
Another young person has fallen victim to the outrageous demands made of finance interns by their superiors. The young man, an intern at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was found dead of an epileptic seizure allegedly brought on by working for 72 hours straight. The current state of affairs within the U.S. internship system is absolutely unacceptable and something must be done to protect these young people who are simply trying to get a good start to their future careers.
The 40 hour work week was brought about by groups of laborers and professionals who had decided that their bosses were asking far too much of them. This seems to have escaped many in the investment banking industry where people are generally expected to work at least 60 hours per week. Those expectations are ludicrous for salaried employees, but asking an intern, who is generally paid a pittance, if anything at all, to do the same is just inhumane. Especially when these internships are almost requisite for getting any kind of job after leaving school.
Internships in U.S. are essentially a form of legalized slavery. For example, Goldman Sachs has just released a statement that their interns must go home before midnight and not return before seven in the morning. That means 17 hour days; and that’s them toning it down. Some internships do teach students about the industry that they want to work in, others still even pay a decent stipend to those providing their services–but some cause young people to work 72 hours straight and drop dead.
Something must be done to regulate the internship system in the U.S. and it must be done quickly. Sign here to demand that congress enact laws to protect interns from being overworked before any more young people die.
Dear Senate Majority Leader McConnell,
I am writing to express my deepest concern with the current system of internships in the United States. It is well-known that internships are an important part of building any career–I’m sure you have more than a few yourself. It is also well-known that it is nearly impossible to get a job in some industries without that internship’s experience. This means that young people are forced to work for very little, nothing in most cases, because their futures are being held hostage.
This system is nothing short of legalized slavery. What’s worse is that in some horrible cases, interns have literally been worked to death. I am writing to beg that you introduce legislation to protect young people from this type of overwork by setting a cap on the number of hours an intern can work in a given week. Some internships teach about a given industry, others still pay a fair stipend, but some require interns to work until they literally drop dead. Please see your way clear to doing the right thing and protecting this nation’s young people.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Joel Gillman