Sunday, December 21, 2014

Foreign students stage walkout at Hershey factory

Remember last year on the gubernatorial campaign trail when Gov. Corbett took a heap of criticism from unemployed Pennsylvanians for blurting out that there were plenty of jobs out there and suggesting the jobless were just hanging around enjoying their unemployment checks?

Foreign students stage walkout at Hershey factory

Remember last year on the gubernatorial campaign trail when Gov. Corbett took a heap of criticism from unemployed Pennsylvanians for blurting out that there were plenty of jobs in the want ads and suggesting the jobless were just hanging around enjoying their unemployment checks?

Well, now we know there were hundreds of jobs ripe for the taking (400 to be exact), in the nation's candyland no less, Hershey, PA.

Only thing is, the company passed up Pennsylvanians to hire foreign cultural exchange students on the cheap.

The company that Hershey hired to fill a shortage of $8.35-an-hour workers in a warehouse, roped in several hundred foreign students who had come to learn English and earn a little spending money.

Now they find, with hundreds of dollars deducted for rent each month, they aren't earning enough to pay for their work-travel visas - let alone getting a chance to experience American culture - except in the back of warehouse stacking boxes of Hersheys Kisses.

As a 20-year-old student from China put it:

“There is no cultural exchange, none, none,” said Zhao Huijiao told the New York Times. “It is just work, work faster, work.”

The students took to the streets in protest and the State Department is investigating. The Hershey Company is blaming the firm it contracted with to find it workers.

More in the New York Times and the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.

 

 

Click here for Philly.com's politics page.

About this blog

Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based right in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.



Commonwealth Confidential team
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected