Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

MLB All-Star Weekend

Workers Sue

Pay Us In Cash, Not Tchotchkes

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


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."


For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

No Avatar


They called it "volunteer" but they did work. They may be entitled to at least minimum wage. This is a labor law issue, but I am no lawyer.

389 days ago


I hope he gets laughed at and sent on his way, jackass.

389 days ago


They did not have to give him anything, if you don't want to volunteer don't sign up.

389 days ago


Did he not look up the meaning of "Volunteer"? Seriously. And the MLB people are smart people for the most part. I'm sure he signed something to indicate that he acknowledges that his work was strictly volunteer and unpaid. Idiot. Looks like he set himself up expecting a big pay day. Idiot!

389 days ago

Dingo Ate My Baby    

So these idiots took the "job" without finding how much they were going to get paid? The courts are already bogged down enough without these stupid kind of lawsuits.

389 days ago

The New Improved Sock Puppet    

If I volunteer to do something and I walk away with a stash of freebies I'll be pretty happy. Unless, of course, the "volunteers" are the same people who "volunteer" to sit on their asses, procreate, and collect welfare, then I understand where they think they weren't paid.

389 days ago

Dingo Ate My Baby    

Sounds to me like they got some good stuff. I would have been happy with that for what little work was actually done VOLUNTEERING.

389 days ago


I volunteer at my daughters school. I single handedly run the box office for the theater department, organize donation, run fundraisers. During the run of a show I average 10 to 15 hour per day. Never did I even think of getting paid because I AM A VOLUNTEER!!! Look it up in the dictionary if you don't know the meaning.

389 days ago


On another note.. minimum wage in NY is only $7.25 an hour? I live in freaking Louisiana where the cost of living in our largest city and the capitol of our state is just a little over half less than it costs to live in NYC, the largest city in their state. How the hell does anyone live off of $7.25.hour in New York? You can't even live off of it in my state where everything is dirt cheap.

389 days ago


Asshats will ruin everything for everybody at one point or another.

Volunteers should be paid ... good one.

389 days ago


Another frivilous lawsuit and 15 minutes of fame...SMH

389 days ago


I think maybe MLB should have thrown a dictionary in with the other freebies so that he can look up the definition of the word "volunteer".

389 days ago


Be happy they gave you swag, they didn't have to give you anything. You were a "volunteer" not an "Employee"

389 days ago


See the thing is about being a volunteer is...you could have just walked away at anytime. You're the genius that wanted to STAY and work those 17 hours a day.

389 days ago


Need to be removed from the gene pool, ASAP!

389 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web