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Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Nov 3, 2017.
In other words, just because people will do it does not mean that is is legal or ethical.
Love how they take this super uncommon situation to try to justify this practice. “He’s just some lonely, retired, old dude. We aren’t hurting anyone!”
Yeah right. The bulk of these positions are filled by twenty-something’s with mountains of student loan debt, a bad job market, and enough love and passion for beer that they are willing to work for free for the possible chance that they might eventually get paid to work in this industry.
This reminds me of the other thread about millenials. I can see it now, “Millenials are killing craft beer because they refuse to work manual labor, skilled, manufacturing jobs for free!”
“Back in my day, we worked at the factory for EXPERIENCE, not money”
Obviously it is not white slavery, but violating labor laws is a decidedly bad practice. Those laws are in place to protect workers. In a for-profit industry, people who do work for you should be compensated properly. Plain and simple.
Some regulations are enforced more stringently than others. If these volunteers would contact the appropriate authorities there certainly would be an issue, but I have a feeling that not many do.
And this is an important thing that hasn’t been brought up yet. If one person works a job for free, it hurts everyone else who works that job.
New brewery opens and is going to can beer. “Well packaging specialists average $60k a year with benefits, buuuut, that brewery down the street gets people to do it for free, so let’s start them at $8 an hour. See how that works?
Do you want to deal with labor unions? Because this is how you get unions.
And rightly so.
I don't know anyone who would take a job for free when they have tons of debt etc. Not sure who these people your referring to are but there is not one person I know who would be so stupid as to work for free for long periods of time if they had a college education and skills they could get paid for? I don't get this entire argument?
When I was younger and graduated college I took the best job I could land and then I proceeded to gain skills and work my way up the ladder. My first jobs sucked but I gained skills that put me into a very nice career. If kids today are so foolish as to work for free for extended periods of time then I think we have another issue at hand and that is ignorance.
Maybe the people taking these jobs screwed around in college, took classes that have no relevance in todays working market, etc. We are not here to discuss careers and jobs this is a place to talk about beer, etc. For as long as I remember "all" business hires free labor and the trade off is some skills learned. "It is up to the person to be smart enough to see when they are being taking advantage of or wasting their time"
Also, you mention college and debt, I doubt they went to school to learn beer skills, so I need to ask why are they not seeking jobs in their field of study? Maybe that is the issue?
That is all speculation. There is zero doubt in my mind that this practice is not being hidden. It sounds like most are using the free labor for very low level tasks and also this is a voluntary spot, there is no promises being given, they put out an add seeking people who want to work but the pay is other than cash? I don't see the argument, now if they hired these people with promise of pay and job and were not doing this then you would have a valid issue, these jobs are not intended for full time or any promise of.
I hope that you realize that you've brought up a different issue than the one at hand. While the bait and switch that you describe would, indeed, be an unethical practice, even if you tell the truth about what you're doing and people agree to it, those things don't make what you do legal and ethical. It just makes them successful for you.
I have a great argument for this entire issue. For years I always see outfits asking for free help. Animal shelters, food donation places, hospitals, etc. They ask for people to come and work but no pay that its a voluntary spot to help.
So are we to use the argument they are hurting people, that these spots could go to people and they could get paid, that they are getting free labor off the backs of 20 year olds?
I think today's society has a sense of entitlement and that is the real issue, people expect top pay for little work and demand it.
I would be willing to bet any money that companies are not successful and profitable due to the fact they use a few free kids to can beer or fetch packaging. If people think that a successful company is successful because Johnny outback is loading beer for two weeks unpaid then leaves to do something else then I don't know what to say. There is zero doubt in my mind these jobs are very short term and created just for the reasons stated. Any company that is a real company knows that you cannot use free labor, this is not a sweat shop in Vietnam, lol.
I think there's a place for charity, and a place for business. A brewery is not a charity.
The word entitlement gets thrown around a lot, to the point where it often seems like the person using it doesn't understand it (for example: benefits people have paid into via taxes). Many people today think the people that have paid into and earned entitlements do not deserve them--and I take issue with that, but that is a different situation.
This case is clear cut. A worker is entitled to compensation.
There is a difference here and you know it. For-profit industries need to pay people that do work for them. Charitable organizations are another story, but just because an entity is a non-profit or a charity does not mean that they don't need to pay their employees either. To specifically cite your examples, animal shelters and food donation places are probably OK to accept volunteers. Hospitals are for-profit, so, not so much.
They are not only hurting the people that they are not paying, but they are hurting the local economy.
Nobody's saying that people should get paid at a higher level than the level of their expertise. Many are saying, however, that when people do work, they need to be properly compensated for it. I did not make the labor laws that we, as a country, operate under, but they are there to prevent abuses that were rampant before they came into being.
Whether you know anyone who works for free or not is irrelevant. It happens. I’ve seen it, others have, I mean, they interview people in the article...
The people I’ve known all had at least one other job. Often more. And yeah, they don’t usually stick around for long when they realize they are being taken advantage of. That doesn’t make this right.
You act like anyone who doesn’t go into the field they studied and stay there is a moron. Literally millions of people don’t do that. Hell, hundreds of breweries, from Goose Island to Lagunitas, we’re started by people who ‘got the itch’ and switched careers.
Packaging employees aren’t asking for engineer wages. Just because people’s plans change and they are passionate about something, doesn’t mean they should have to work for free...
You know what would happen if someone found out that InBev did something like this? It would be on the front page of the NYT, there would be a multimillion dollar class action lawsuit, and people would be absolutely trashing them on here. But because it’s little local breweries doing it, people are trying to defend them.
A worker is entered to compensation your right, but the person needs to be accepting a position that pays? If there is an add in the paper looking for "Free" help to can beers and help in warehouse they its pretty clear there is no compensation for this job. The business is being legally open and clear in their add you will not be paid. So my advice to all these lost souls is to not interview or take the 'Free" position.
This is not a hard argument, if you want to be paid they you interview for a job, negotiate your salary, etc. The entire point here is a paid verse unpaid job, are you telling me people are so ignorant they cannot tell the difference?
No one is playing games with these kids/people? There is no one I am aware of who is promising pay and they using people for years, if that was happening they would be shut down.
They ARE short term, but they are repetitively so. That makes it something that people should be paid to do.
To use a non-beer example, there's a micro-distillery in town that has labeling parties when their liquor is ready to package. People often do 8+ hours of work and receive a couple shots of liquor and a free (small) bottle of booze. They have these parties every time they need to bottle their product, which is at least once a month. These people are volunteers, but I feel that they should be paid because some people are volunteering every time something gets bottled. What do you think?
I agree with all your points, trust me I am pro-worker as much as anyone. What I am arguing is these folks accept a position that is "no pay", so are they not responsible for their own actions? I would agree with you 100% of they took a job that said we will pay you or hire you full time and they are lying to them but I believe these companies are open about hey we want to get some free people in to help. My advice then is for people to not take the jobs, then they wont have these issues.
I am not defending them at all. I am saying people are walking in and taking a job that clearly says we are not paying you, then they bitch they are not being paid? And if you are switching careers and want to get a foot in the door then you need to do your homework. You need to see what the free job is, will it help you, did you ask about being hired full time, etc. I think we are crossing paths on this entire argument.
Also, in cities with unions this does not happen because of the union, I worked for a union shop, that does not happen there. So there is major difference when a massive company is union.
Here's the issue with what you've said here. If there is a strong precedent for people receiving paid compensation for an activity, labor laws apply.
I feel that most of these people probably are doing the work out of fun and free stuff. They most likely are not doing it out of need for money. And I don't feel they should be paid, if the micro-distillery clearly asks for voluntary help then that is pretty clear to me, they are no being misleading.
I think we are arguing two separate issues. You are arguing people need to be paid and I am saying most of these people don't do the job for pay because its not the point they take it for.
This is a great example. These small breweries are purposefully taking advantage of locals who think they are "a part of something", when all that the business is looking for is free labor. That is where this situation goes south. Volitional or not, this practice is predatory.
No there is a distinctive difference on taking a free position and taking one for pay. There is no court that would uphold this argument. If you willingly take a job that is free with no pay you agree to those terms. There is nothing illegal about this and it goes on all over the world. You cannot take a job that states no pay, agree to this, then turn around and expect pay or full time employment.
Then my advice to these people is to not take the job. How can you say something is predatory if you volunteer for the job and accept the terms. I am not seeing a bait and switch here, none of these people are saying hey we will pay you then say sorry no pay and use them. Anyone working for free knows what they are getting into, if they don't well I cannot argue ignorance.
I agree with you completely, that these people are entering into these situations of their own free will and there is no bait and switch involved.
My contention is that the business should not be able to even offer said "opportunities", because there is no other reason that they are doing it besides saving money.
Unpaid internships are one thing. Interns are people looking to get experience in a trade that they couldn't get elsewhere, so the business profits, but the intern does as well. These people are not interns. They are simply unpaid labor. That, by definition, is illegal in these specific cases.
Well I cannot say what companies should and cannot do, if they legally can they will and we all know that. It comes down to the individual and being educated enough to not allow themselves to be taken advantage of. Nothing in life is perfect or fair, but most people know what is right and wrong. I think a lot of the jobs these companies toss out are in good faith, sure you can say they could pay the guy 10 bucks an hour but it is not the point. They toss out some easy jobs to people and tell them hey you can work for a few weeks, meet some cool people, score some beer, food, etc. I honestly think the majority do it for the right reasons. Are there scumbags out there, hell yes there are and they are scumbags, but I think a lot of these jobs are in good faith, I honestly do.
My advice to kids/people today is to understand what your getting into and know when to walk and when to ask for help or advice.
Let's use the ABInbev example. Say if Budweiser could hypothetically get everyone on their packaging line in one of their breweries to work for free, because "hey, we're having a bottling party today". Would that be legal?
Not the same, we are talking apples and oranges. Its one thing to bring on 2-3 people for a free position and another to bring on a full staff and call it voluntary day. Companies don't do that because they would get into legal trouble due to fraud. I see your argument but its totally different, that would be like saying a company has 100 people and one week a month to use free labor for those spots and call it donation week, that is way different and done for a reason, these jobs are pretty clear and very basic and limited in number.
Also they are union and operate under separate rules than a non-union/family business. They cannot hire non-union people, that is just the way it is. So the free labor would have to be union members to start and then why would they work for free when they are guaranteed a wage based on skill.
Here's a good overview of what is legal and what is not:
An excerpt: Under the FLSA, employees may not volunteer services to for-profit private sector employers.
I believe that link refers to federal/govt. employees if I am not mistaken. The positions were are discussing are not government/federal positions and are not protected under those statutes.
It's for both public and private sector, so both government and non-government jobs. That's why they mention things like the following:
Individuals who volunteer or donate their services, usually on a part-time basis, for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, not as employees and without contemplation of pay, are not considered employees of the religious, charitable or similar non-profit organizations that receive their service
There is no prohibition on anyone employed in the private sector from volunteering in any capacity or line of work in the public sector.
public sector employers may not allow their employees to volunteer, without compensation
"Public Agency" is defined to mean the Government of the United States
The entire document outlines the rules for Government employees. It does mention that it does not apply to what you noted above, these rules are for federal type people. The government cannot regulate private sector.
You've just proven our point.
Yeah, and those Triangle Shirtwaists were a quality product and a great value. What consumer wouldn't support such a product?
Uh, no you're not. The point of the FLSA's regulations against volunteering at a for-profit business is not necessarily only for the protection of the individual "volunteer worker", it also to protect the workforce in general. It's pretty difficult to compete with, or ask for a raise, when others are willing to work for free because it's "Fun".
It's why the Act is called "Fair Labor Standards" ...
The Department of Labor (DOL) fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the Department administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support.
Although the FLSA's definition of employment and pay requirements are very broad, the United States Supreme Court recognized as far back as 1947 that the work of an individual that "serves only his own interest" can, under very limited circumstances, be outside of the scope of the FLSA's definition of employment. This holding paved the way for unpaid internships as an exception to the pay requirements of the FLSA.
The USDOL, balancing the FLSA's broad directive with the Supreme Court's recognition of "self-interest" situations, created rules allowing a narrow exception for for-profit employers to legally provide training and learning opportunities to interns without providing monetary compensation. The USDOL set out a six-part test, technically called the "trainee exception," for use in determining whether or not an intern must be paid as an employee under the FLSA. If all of the following six factors are met, an intern is not an employee, and the FLSA's payment requirements will not apply:
The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school;
The training is for the benefit of the intern;
The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under their close observation;
The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantages from the activities of the intern and, on occasion, the employer's operations may actually be impeded;
The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and,
The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
If I am not mistaken the person taking the free job was promised pay in the form of beer and food, so they are being compensated thus there is no argument in court. If there was an argument show me the successful cases of people winning lawsuits because of this.
This article is mostly talking about volunteers. And food and drink isn't a form of payment in the United States, as far as I knew.
Non-monetary compensation can include many different elements – from free coffee to a company picnic or discounted parking. Most frequently, though, it refers to the value of more traditional benefits.
I would be willing to bet that most companies can argue they paid for the free help with food and beer, that the entered into an agreement that in place of cash the individual agreed to this form of payment. I am not a lawyer but I have a feeling this would constitute payment for services rendered. Is it right, probably not but it gets these guys into the legal side. Again, it comes down to the person not being used. Just don't take the job.