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
PHILADELPHIA SOLIDARITY RALLY FOR HERSHEY’S STUDENT WORKERS
2pm, Aug. 19, 6th and Market, Philadelphia, PA
12:30pm, Aug. 19, Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA
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