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Abuse at Hershey

August 23, 2011

Not at Sacred Chocolate! J

Change.org
Tell Hershey’s: Stop exploiting exchange students as cheap, manual labor

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Sign the Petition

Dear Peggy,

Hundreds of foreign exchange students paid to come to America this summer, expecting opportunities to learn English and experience American culture.

Instead, the exchange students found themselves forced to work in back-breaking, round-the-clock production lines packing chocolates at a Hershey’s plant in Pennsylvania at low wages. When the students complained, Hershey’s threatened to have them deported.

Now the exchange students are fighting back. They just walked out of the Hershey’s plant and into the streets to protest the abusive conditions and to demand big changes to Hershey’s deceptive "cultural exchange" program.

And they’ve teamed up with the National Guestworker Alliance to start a petition demanding that Hershey’s compensate the exchange students, and turn their work into good jobs for local workers. Click here to add your name.

Yana, a 19-year-old girl from Ukraine, lifts boxes that weigh 40 pounds — nearly half her weight. Peng, a 21-year-old economics student from China, also lifts heavy boxes during his eight-hour shifts at the warehouse.

Hundreds of students from Ghana, Turkey, Mongolia, and other countries each paid up to $6,000 for the privilege to come to America in a cultural exchange program this summer. Now Hershey’s pays them around $8 an hour for their warehouse work, minus costs of housing — leaving many students broke, tired, and disillusioned.

Why would Hershey’s want to use foreign exchange students as cheap, manual labor? According to the National Guestworker Alliance, a group helping the students, it’s about profit. Hershey’s is laying off 500 American workers in the next year. The company’s strategy is apparently paying off: Hershey’s pocketed $130 million in just the last three months.

The foreign exchange students are asking Hershey to refund the thousands of dollars the students paid to come to America. And that’s not all: The students also want Hershey’s to convert their low-paying positions to living wage jobs for local residents in Pennsylvania.

Please sign the petition to Hershey’s demanding the company refund the students’ costs to come to America and give their jobs back to American workers who live near the warehouse.

Thanks for being a change-maker,

– Jess and the Change.org team

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