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MLB All-Star Weekend

Workers Sue

Pay Us In Cash, Not Tchotchkes

8/7/2013 8:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Major League Baseball put roughly 2,000 people to work during All-Star weekend in NYC last month and illegally paid them with giveaway items like shirts and hats INSTEAD of cash, so says a new lawsuit.

One of the "volunteers" who worked the event has filed the suit against MLB -- claiming the organization broke the law by failing to pay the "volunteers" actual wages for doing real jobs.

In the suit, John Chen says he worked 17 hours in 4 days at the All-Star Weekend festival -- doing everything from stamping wrists to stuffing flyers into bags and even filing paperwork ... all assignments that would otherwise have to be done by paid employees.

Chen says at the end of the event, he was compensated with a shirt, cap, cinch drawstring backpack, free admission to the FanFest for himself and a guest, a water bottle and a baseball.

Basically, Chen believes the concept of a "volunteer" workforce violates federal and state labor laws -- and the "volunteers" should be paid at least minimum wage ... which, in NY, is $7.25 per hour.

Furthermore, Chen points out that MLB made a killing during the event -- charging $35 per adult ticket, $5 for a bag of chips and $7.50 for lemonade.

Chen is seeking a judgement forcing MLB to end the volunteer work program ASAP -- and pay volunteers who worked at FanFest events dating back to the 2007 All-Star Weekend.

Chen released a statement saying, "I very much enjoyed working at FanFest, but the minimum wage laws are important. People who cannot afford to work for free should be able to have the same experience I had."

A rep for MLB tells us, “We don’t comment on pending litigations."

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96 COMMENTS

No Avatar
1.

kat40    

OK what's the meaning of volunteer right I'll wait lol people are crazy these days

406 days ago
2.

Steve    

When did the start paying volunteers Chen?

406 days ago
3.

Rhubino    

Somebody needs a dictionary.

406 days ago
4.

charlei harper    

Mr. Chen, please read the following, then reconsider your position in this issue...volunteer (n.) Person who offers to serve or work without expecting payment.

Now what say you????

406 days ago
5.

Jamey Hunter    

Has this guy been given the definition of the word volunteer? Hate to tell you, Dude, volunteers do it for FREE. This was an event for people who love the sport and wanted to be a part of the day. Stupid.

406 days ago
6.

Bob    

He should be happy that he received some gifts in exchange for volunteering. If he wanted to paid, he shouldn't have volunteered in the first place. I'm also not sure why his ignorance is newsworthy.

406 days ago
7.

rosie    

what a p*ssy. what the hell is wrong with people? when you CHOOSE to accept a volunteer position, you are CHOOSING to not get paid. douche bag.

406 days ago
8.

chicagoannie    

I volunteer a a children's hospital...I don't expect to get paid for VOLUNTEERING. I don't even get freebies, either. MLB should give Chen a dictionary so he can look up the meaning of "volunteer."

406 days ago
9.

chaozz    

I hope he gets hit with all the court fee's what a fricken loser. People volunteer for popular events just to get in for free.

406 days ago
10.

Cheryl    

I "worked" when it was in Chicago at Comiskey Park in 2003. I didn't get paid because it was ALL VOLUNTEER. Look up the word idiot. Enjoy paying the court fees on this bogus lawsuit.

406 days ago
11.

Bolivar    

"Volunteer". Look it up, Chen.

406 days ago
12.

Barry Soetoro    

Why not? Illegal immigrants get paid for doing nothing.

405 days ago
13.

Truth    

That guy obviously spends too much time reading liberal blogs. Next thing will be to unionize volunteers.

405 days ago
14.

Doug Dillard    

Getting paid to volunteer??? That is crazy! He thinks just getting promotional items is bad? I have volunteered for the PGA Tournament at Torry Pines many times (which makes millions of dollars) and we get a jacket and tickets all week to the event as a volunteer. On top of not getting paid, volunteers have to pay just under $100 to volunteer to get those benefits. But we understand that the word is Volunteer and do not expect to get paid. Stupid Lawsuit!

405 days ago
15.

Jules Destaing    

Another D-bag trying to make a name for himself. "Volunteer".....Look that up in your Funk-n-Wagnalls.

405 days ago
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