HARRISBURG, PA—At 11 a.m. Monday, August 29, Hershey’s J-1 student workers marched to the Harrisburg office of Hershey’s Trust board chairman LeRoy Zimmerman to deliver a petition with more than 63,000 signatures from all across America supporting the students’ three main demands:
- The end of Hershey’s exploitation of J-1 student workers;
- The return of the $3,000-6,000 each the students paid for false promises of a cultural exchange; and
- That the 400 jobs the J-1 students filled at Hershey’s packing plant be made into living wage jobs for local workers.
About 15 students and as many allies marched to the office of Mr. Zimmerman bearing “No More Captive Workers” and “Hershey’s: Pay PA Back” signs, and chanting “Hershey Hershey can’t you see / what justice means to me” and “Good jobs for local workers.”
They entered the lobby and showed the 1,176-page petition to the security guard, saying they’d like to deliver it to Mr. Zimmerman. The security guard informed them Mr. Zimmerman had told him not to let them in the building. One of the students called Mr. Zimmerman on a cell phone to request a meeting while others sang and chanted in the lobby. They were given his voice mail, and they passed the phone from student to student until every one of them had had a chance to leave him a message.
The police showed and asked the group to move outside, which they did. The students and allies rallied in front of Mr. Zimmerman’s office building for about 30 minutes, drawing supportive honks and waves from passing Harrisburg residents. They then sent the petition to Mr. Zimmerman by fax.
View photo gallery here.
The Justice at Hershey’s campaign began two weeks ago when 220 students signed a petition with their demands to Hershey’s and its subcontractors. When the students went on strike on August 17, they attempted to deliver the petition to company representatives, but the representatives refused to accept it.
As Hershey’s has yet to make any direct response to the students’ demands, the students will deliver a printout of the petition with all 63,000 signatures they have gathered to the law offices of Hershey’s Trust board chairman LeRoy Zimmerman on Monday morning. The students will also seek a meeting with Mr. Zimmerman.
WHEN: 11 a.m. ET Monday, August 29, 2011
WHERE: Law office of LeRoy Zimmerman, 3 Market Street, #800, Harrisburg, PA 17101
WHAT: Striking Hershey’s J-1 student workers, local PA allies
CONTACTS: Mitch Troutman, Mob. 215-620-0970
NGA Communications Director Stephen Boykewich, Stephen@guestworkeralliance.org, Mob. 718-791-9162