Midstate foreign student workers to hold international day of action against McDonald’s – The Patriot-News – 4/1/13

Midstate foreign student workers to hold international day of action against McDonald’s
The Patriot-News

Erik Veronikis
April 1, 2013

Foreign student workers who staged a protest against midstate McDonald’s franchisee Andy Cheung last month plan to hold an international day of action at McDonald’s locations around the world on June 6.

June 6 will mark the three-month anniversary of the work-stoppage strike guest workers held at Cheung’s McDonald’s on Trindle Road in Hampden Township.

The guest workers claim McDonald’s is not adequately addressing their complaints, and has refused to meet with them to discuss the adoption of regulations that would help end guest worker abuse at its restaurants.

Last week, foreign student workers traveled to McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., and the home of the company’s CEO, Don Thompson.

They delivered a petition signed by 100,000 people, demanding a high-level meeting to discuss ending the abuse of guest workers at McDonald’s restaurants, said the National Guestworker Alliance, which helped stage the midstate protest on March 6.

McDonald’s executives have refused to meet with foreign student workers, according to the NGA.

“When McDonald’s refused, the students decided to bring their campaign to their home countries around the world, including Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Malaysia, with an international day of protest on June 6,” the alliance said.

McDonald’s spokespeople could not immediately be reached for comment.

The foreign students workers, who were participating in the U.S. Department of State’s J-1 Visa program, claimed that Cheung exploited them in his local franchises and in the basement dwellings he rented to them while they worked for him in Central Pennsylvania.

Their story has gone viral and has been reported by The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, NBC and other national news outlets.

McDonald’s has cut ties with Cheung, but the company has shared no details on how and when he would stop operating his six midstate McDonald’s.

Cheung has not returned repeated interview requests.

“McDonalds thought it could wait until we went back to our home countries and the problem would go away,” said National Guestworker Alliance member and student guest worker Rodrigo Yanez, in a statement. “We’re going to keep the fight up in our countries, and we’re going to make it grow. We’re inviting allies in the U.S. and around the world to join us.”

NGA Executive Director Saket Soni said in a news release “McDonald’s could make all this go away,” if the company takes responsibility for what happened to the guest workers.

“They could adopt labor standards as they promised,” Soni said.  “Or they could look forward to a long, hot summer.”


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