AIA Georgia, along with numerous chapters throughout the AIA community, believe that it is wrong to award our highest honors to individuals and firms that violate both AIA and federal employment policy by utilizing unpaid labor. We ask that AIA members use the business meeting in Philadelphia in May to update its policies to make this commitment clear and unequivocal.
AIA Georgia has introduced a Resolution which proposes that AIA chapters across the nation take action at the AIA Convention to update the Intern Declaration Policy, for a variety of reasons. The most important reason for this update is to make clear that AIA considers the use of unpaid labor to be unethical, and that it should require nominees for its highest honors to affirm that they have not used illegal hiring and employment practices through unpaid work arrangements – and have not done so for a period of 10 years. Additionally, this amendment would eliminate the use of the term “intern” and bring it in alignment with recent changes in the profession.
- Clarify and update the terminology (i.e. “intern”).
- Explicitly recognize that an applicant for an AIA Honor Award adhere to Federal labor laws. This is especially relevant with regards to recent court rulings in how the term ‘intern’ is defined and being used in a wide variety of professions, including architecture.
- Clarify and explicitly recognize a sustained commitment regarding the use of unpaid labor over a reasonable amount of time, as was the original intent. The language used in the current policy can easily be construed to mean it only applies to the 24 hour period immediately preceding signing the form.
- Individual candidates and applicants will need to explicitly acknowledge they’ve read this. Or, in the case of a Gold Medal or Firm of the Year, a nominator filling out the application could acknowledge the policy. We are advocating for a greater individual accountability in this regard.
And, this policy change would not impact the very effective work-study programs in place, where students work without financial compensation, but do receive class credit for their work contributions.