A settlement has just been annoucned in last May’s a class action suit filed by volunteers at the Emerald City Comic Con, over the lack of payment for their work. You can read more here and here but the bottom line is that ECCC will pay a total of $493,227.84 to those who volunteered. ECCC does not admit any wrong doing.
The money covers the minimum wage that workrs are owed under Washington State law. Plaintiff Jerry Brooks claims Emerald City Comicon violated Washington State law by failing to pay people classified as volunteers the minimum wages they were owed under Washington laws for performing services at the 2014 and/or 2015 Emerald City Comicon Conventions in Seattle, Washington. Emerald City Comicon de
The years covered by the class action – 2014 and 2015 – fall occured before ReedPOP acquired the con. However it’s part of a general chill over the use of unpaid volunteers at for-profit comics. (SDCC is run by a non-profit so they still use a ton of volunteers.)
Volunteering for a show is considered a great way to get into sold out events and interact with guests up close, but it’s going to become more and more problematic for bigger shows and events.
In addition to the added security at many cons, this is another expense to add to the costs of running a show. Easy money? Not really.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.