On Aug. 17, one month to the day before the launch of Occupy Wall Street, hundreds of student workers from around the world occupied the factory floor of the Hershey’s chocolate packing plant in Pennsylvania. They exposed just how far the 1% are willing to go to make a profit.
The students revealed how the Hershey’s Corporation had schemed to turn hundreds of permanent union jobs into sub-minimum wage jobs. Through subcontractors and recruiters, Hershey’s had its Halloween chocolates packaged by students from around the world who came to the U.S. expecting a cultural exchange. Instead, the students became captive workers in Hershey’s packing plant.
The students’ plant occupation sparked a movement in Pennsylvania. Their key demand: make these jobs living wage jobs for local workers. Thousands mobilized to hold Hershey’s accountable. Your support made Hershey’s stock take a dive on Wall Street.
Yesterday, the New York Times published a front-page expose on Hershey’s labor recruiter, CETUSA: a temp agency that masquerades as a non-profit while luring students into captive labor.
“You wanted a cultural exchange,” a CETUSA representative told one of the student workers at the Hershey’s plant. “This is America and this is the way we do things here.”
It’s time to tell Hershey’s and the rest of the 1%: That’s not the way we do things here anymore.
The U.S. State Department certified CETUSA to issue J-1 cultural exchange visas, leading thousands of cultural exchange students into captive labor at the Hershey’s packing plant over a period of years. Tell the State Department today: Shut CETUSA down!