On Thursday, hundreds of guestworkers from around the world walked off the job at the Hershey Company-affiliated warehouse in North Londonderry Township, in protest of their working conditions.
According to The Lebanon Daily News, the students paid $3000-$6000 each to come to the United States this summer for the opportunity to immerse themselves in American culture by working in a job for three months. Instead, they found themselves packaging boxes of chocolate in what has been described as “deeply exploitative conditions.”
Other reports on this situation say that the students have been charged exorbitant rates for housing and transportation, and that after work-related deductions, many barely make more than $100 a week. They claim their exploitation is a result of The Hershey Company’s efforts to arrange for cheap labor instead of providing good paying jobs to local workers.
The students demand that the money they spent to be in the program be refunded and that the jobs are given to local PA workers, but at a living wage.
The students were joined by members of the Chocolate Workers Union, AFL-CIO, and Service Employees International Union. A number of PA labor leaders, who also joined the student protest to show their solidarity, were arrested outside the factory.