Posts Tagged ‘petition’

Independent probe confirms forced labor at Walmart supplier: What’s next?

On June 20, 2012, the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent investigative agency, released findings of “systematic violations of labor law and grossly inhumane treatment” of H-2B guestworkers by a Walmart seafood supplier in Louisiana called C.J.’s Seafood.

Below is a statement by Saket Soni, Executive Director of the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA):

A week after Walmart attempted a cover-up of forced labor at its supplier C.J.’s Seafood, one of America’s top labor rights watchdogs has found conditions there that they say “rival any sweatshop in China or Bangladesh.”

Forced labor is unacceptable anywhere. But this is Louisiana, a two-hour flight from Walmart’s corporate headquarters. And this is a supplier than sells 85% of its product to Walmart—meaning Walmart is profiting from forced labor in America, and it’s keeping the perpetrator in business.

Walmart refused to meet with the workers who exposed the forced labor, so the workers came to Walmart. All day yesterday they sought meetings with Walmart board member Michelle Burns at her New York City offices. They delivered 122,000 petitions to her skyscraper penthouse. Today they sought a meeting with another Walmart board member Chris Williams, but were turned down again.

Now the workers are on their way to Washington, D.C., where they’ll tell members of Congress how Walmart is profiting from forced labor in Louisiana. They’ll bring copies of the Worker Rights Consortium report that confirms the depth of exploitation Walmart tried to cover up. They’ll tell how the man Walmart keeps in business forced them to for 15-24 hours straight, illegally underpaid them, threatened them and their families with violence, and then demanded that they take care of his children for free while he and his wife went to a casino.

Walmart claims to hold all its suppliers to the highest standards, all around the world. Now that we’ve seen how Walmart responds to forced labor in its own backyard, its big promises don’t even pass the laugh test.

CONTACT: Jacob Horwitz, NGA Lead Organizer, 504-452-9159, jacob@guestworkeralliance.org

 

Sec’y Clinton: Stop Supplying Captive Workers to the 1%!

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!

Sign the petition to Hershey’s on Change.org!

With our friends at Change.org, we’ve created an online petition to calling on Hershey’s to end the exploitation of student workers at the Hershey’s plant, return the money the students paid for a cultural exchange they never received, and make the jobs at the Hershey’s plant dignified, living wage jobs for local workers.

Tens of thousands have already added their signatures: please join them and spread the word!

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