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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
31.

JennA    

If he signed on as a volunteer, then he doesn't deserve to be paid and probably won't. But in the future, maybe MLB could actually hire workers for this game and pay them. It's one thing to ask for volunteers for a charitable or non-profit event, but that's not what this is. The players on the field all have multi-million dollar contracts, the umps are getting paid. How about minimum wage for the people who are emptying the trash and tearing tickets?.... Or can they just not spare a few thousand dollars from the MLB pension fund?

352 days ago
32.

ERP    

He is a volunteer. Most major sporting events have hundreds of volunteers. I have done this and was compensated with a couple of shirts and a cap.And was happy. Not only did the events bring in a ton of $$ to the community, large donations were made to charities. A volunteer is a non monetary compensated position. Stop trying to waste the courts time.

352 days ago
33.

Ricardo Marquez    

I hope he isn't Asian this behavior is pathetic. Next thing you know we'll hear racism and then Al Sharpton will step in....never mind no Al wrong Race

352 days ago
34.

KWDragon    

So, apparently, he was unclear on the word "volunteer." You are essentially working for the privilege of being at the event. Although I have problems with such a for-profit organization using volunteers, he understood what he signed up to do. What an idiot.

352 days ago
35.

dapedo    

Chen <-- should go back to the country he came from

352 days ago
36.

ocgirl    

Doesn't volunteer imply there will be no pay. They should be glad they got the goodie bags. I would not expect a paycheck if I volunteered for something.

352 days ago
37.

Moe Greene    

This guy is a dumbass and pretty much will keep MLB away from NYC for an all star game for years to come.

352 days ago
38.

Hell's Belle    

What an idiot. He should have known that when he signed up. He's pissed over $123 dollars (pre tax). MLB should cut him a check (with proper withholdings), then send him an invoice for his 2 admission tickets. My guess is he'd stop whining at that point.

352 days ago
39.

KARMA K    

volunteer, means you work for free! What a dumbass! He will never win the law suit! Just enjoy the free hat and t-shirt!

352 days ago
40.

gpzjack    

This country is a joke.. Its called volunteering because you don't get paid.

352 days ago
41.

why     

Volunteer means "Free" I believe!

352 days ago
42.

Jo    

I hope your lawyer is volunteering his services.

352 days ago
43.

terry    

when you 'Volunteer' you are not entitled to be paid, otherwise, you are an employee, not a volunteer...sheesh, some people are just to greedy

352 days ago
44.

Grannyshew    

Get an education then look up the word volunteer..

352 days ago
45.

Truetalk    

Another ambulance chaser opportunist looking for a free piece of cake but failing to recognize "Volunteer" is just that, somebody give this douchbag 2 open palms to the ears please

352 days ago
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