"Student guestworkers" strike at Pennsylvania chocolate factory

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Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Joined: 5-10-07
Aug 23 2011 23:00
"Student guestworkers" strike at Pennsylvania chocolate factory

There's probably far better coverage of this around, but...

Anybody following this locally?


Take Action Now!Today, hundreds of student guestworkers from around the world were joined by unemployed American workers and labor leaders in a factory sit-in at the Hershey's Chocolate Company packing plant in Pennsylvania.

The students paid $3,000-$6,000 each to come to the U.S. this summer for what they thought would be a cultural exchange program through the State Department's J-1 visa. Instead, they found themselves packing chocolates at the Hershey's plant in deeply exploitative conditions. After automatic weekly deductions for rent in company housing and other expenses, they net between $40 and $140 per week for 40 hours of work. The workers talked about their struggle and asked for our support at the JwJ national conference.

The student guestworkers aren't the only ones who have suffered. If Hershey hadn't chosen subcontract to have its chocolates packed by exploitable guestworkers, 400 workers in Central Pennsylvania could have had living wage, union jobs.

The students' demands:

End the exploitation of student workers at the Hershey's plant and return the $3,000-$6,000 that the student workers paid for a cultural exchange
That Hershey's make these living wage jobs for local Pennsylvania workers

Want to learn more about the campaign & how you can help support these workers? Read more on the Jobs with Justice website.

CRUD's picture
Joined: 11-04-10
Aug 24 2011 00:28
Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Joined: 5-10-07
Aug 24 2011 09:03

Thanks CRUD!

Joined: 3-12-07
Aug 24 2011 09:12

So they got the union bureaucrats, but not the strikers, to be arrested ? These students are pretty clued on, usually it's the other way around.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Joined: 5-10-07
Aug 24 2011 09:26

Who actually organised the strike? The workers themselves? Anyone know the politics of this guestworker alliance? Were they around before the strike of have they come out of it? Are they a trade union group? Anyone know if they've set up picket line and whether the other factory workers are crossing it?

"What a noble thing you did" - Cock.

(To be fair tho, I sure the bureaucrat is a cock too...)

Joined: 15-04-06
Aug 24 2011 16:17

WSA members were actually talking about this as it unfolded. We don't have anyone in that area, but one of our members grew up "near" there.Seems like bunches of kids from fromer "Eastern Block" countries working in US tourist areas.

On the arrests, I suspect that the students would be deported for getting arrested.

Good article but has anyone heard more?
Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Read the other articles as well. I suspect these conditions exist in
lots of resort and tourist areas where these kids work. last summer
when we were on Cape Cod, I noticed lots of EEuro. students, same this
Summer on the Outer Banks (NC) and Williamsburg.

S. .... this is in your old neck of the woods, right?
Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 1:15 PM

In my area finding underpaid, trapped students is common in the touristy ski towns but also meet more than a couple employed by services contractor Xanterra in the National Parks. Exciting news this Hershey's action.

Joined: 13-10-05
Aug 25 2011 01:10

nyt, last thursday