Day 3: Human rights commission arrives, rallies in 4 cities

Hershey’s J-1 student workers win community support on Day 2 of strike, prepare for commission investigation on Day 3

HERSHEY, PA—After winning overwhelming community support on the second day of their strike, hundreds of Hershey’s J-1 student workers prepared for the arrival at 1 p.m. Friday, August 19, of an independent investigative commission of experts in labor and international law from five U.S. universities (bios, PDF).

Meanwhile, community and labor supporters planned to support the workers at solidarity rallies in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, and Chicago on Friday (details below).

On Thursday, Day 2 of the strike, the students received overwhelming support from local residents as they rallied in downtown Hershey to speak with community members about their key demands: that Hershey’s end its exploitation of student guestworkers, and that it give living wage jobs to local Pennsylvania workers.

Town residents honked, waved, stopped their vehicles to express their support, and gathered on foot from the surrounding streets to join the students, who told how they paid $3,000-6,000 each for a cultural exchange this summer and instead found themselves captive workers at the Hershey’s packing plant.

Later, the students prepared for the arrival at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 19, of an independent investigative commission of experts in labor and international law from the University of Pennsylvania, City University of New York, Villanova, Loyola University, and the University of Tennessee (bios, PDF).

The commission will conduct an investigation into the labor practices of Hershey’s and its subcontractors at the Palmyra packing plant, and release its findings at the start of next week.

Commission members will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. at Chocolate Workers Local 646 before beginning their investigation with in-depth interviews of the students.

HERSHEY, PA EVENT

ARRIVAL AND PRESS CONFERENCE BY INVESTIGATIVE COMMISSION

1pm, Aug. 19, Chocolate Workers Local 646, 16 West Caracas Ave., Hershey, PA

Contact: NGA Communications Director Stephen Boykewich

Stephen@guestworkeralliance.org, Mob. 718-791-9162

 

ADDITIONAL EVENTS

PHILADELPHIA SOLIDARITY RALLY FOR HERSHEY’S STUDENT WORKERS

2pm, Aug. 19, 6th and Market, Philadelphia, PA

Contact: Mitchell Troutman: 202-487-9409mitchell.troutman@gmail.com
PITTSBURGH SOLIDARITY RALLY FOR HERSHEY’S STUDENT WORKERS

12:30pm, Aug. 19, Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA

Contact: Lisa Frank 412-551-8596frankl@seiuhealthcarepa.org

SOLIDARITY RALLY AT HERSHEY’S TIMES SQUARE

48th & Broadway, New York, NY

SOLIDARITY RALLY AT HERSHEY’S CHICAGO RETAIL EXPERIENCE

822 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL

 

BACKGROUND: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-h8EBP0JSs, http://www.guestworkeralliance.org/category/justice-at-hersheys-2/

    Comments

    Posted On
    Aug 20, 2011
    Posted By
    Kevin May

    An investigation should also be conducted on the way the students hired to work for Herco Inc which operates Hershey Park. Mistreatment, overwork, misrepresentation, etc., same type of thing as these people at the chocolate plant, and this has been going on for many years at the theme park. By the way Hershey Park is a separate entity and not associated with Hershey Foods. However they do hire foreign students under the same premise that they students are having a cultural exchange then when they get here the real story comes out in that they are over worked, under paid, and dont even get to see America until just before they leave, and even then some dont even get to do that. A separate investigation with Herco Inc should also be made as the conditions of the foreign workers there for many years is very similar to whats going on over at the plant.

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