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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Many Olympic volunteers quitting over alleged mistreatment in Rio

Rio Olympics

Nearly one third of the volunteers who signed on to work the Summer Olympics in Rio have quit because of the alleged mistreatment they have experienced over the past two weeks.

Two volunteers — now former volunteers — recently told CBC News that Olympic officials have been ordering volunteers to work long hours without adequate breaks and meals. Luis Moreira, who was one of roughly 50,000 volunteers in Rio, quit his “job” last week because his schedule was too unpredictable and he wasn’t eating enough.

“Many volunteers had to quit because they had to work two weeks in a row, schedules were messed up, lots of people quit because of the food: they were told to work eight, nine hours and were only provided with a little snack,” Moreira explained. “I don’t think the organizing committee had enough consideration for people’s lives and welfare. It was as though the organizing committee was doing us a favor. The committee uses the volunteers to make money, uses us for free labor.”

As the CBC notes, IOC officials in Rio have been earning a $900-per-day stipend. The IOC has made more than $5 billion since the 2012 Olympics. Mark Adams, the director of communications for the committee, says having more paid employees is an option but he feels volunteers are the “backbone” of the Olympics.

Aisha Marcelina, a 23-year-old volunteer, is grinding it out but does not seem happy.

“Before I started volunteering here, I used to sleep in until really late,” she said. “But now I’m getting more into the habit. They ask us to come to work really early and then hold us back when it’s time to go home.”

Olympic organizers are now trying to silence volunteers, as one woman told the CBC her supervisor has forbidden her from talking about the lousy work environment.

There have been a ton of problems in Rio, none more publicized than the disgusting water in these pools. The Olympics never go off without a hitch, but it seems like Rio officials have done a particularly poor job as hosts.

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