More Baseball: Death of a Ballplayer
John Chen, who worked 17 hours over the four days of All-Star weekend, claims in his suit that the league broke federal and state labor laws by hiring a volunteer workforce to do real jobs -- like stamping wrists and filing paperwork -- and failing to compensate them with money.
Instead of monetary compensation, the league rewarded the workforce with a variety of All-Star Game paraphernalia, which included a shirt, a hat, a baseball, a drawstring backpack, a water bottle, and free admission for the volunteer and a guest into the FanFest event.
Chen believes that he and the other volunteers should have been paid at least minimum wage -- $7.25 in New York -- for their work that weekend, and is seeking to put an end to MLB's volunteer workforce program as soon as possible. He also released a brief statement on the matter:
"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."
TMZ's report on the situation does not indicate whether Chen and the thousands of other volunteers signed any sort of waiver or agreement that precluded them from receiving money from the league for their work. Any document of that kind would make Chen's case an incredibly difficult one.
MLB has yet to comment on the suit.