Monday, August 22, 2011

Not Buying Their Products Anymore, . . .

John Baer: Maybe Hershey foreign workers are all-day suckers -
The students, on work, travel and cultural visas from China, Ghana and Eastern Europe, say Hershey gave them not culture but back-aching, production-line work on round-the-clock shifts at a candy-packaging warehouse.
They get about $8 an hour, minus charges for housing.
The kids there now protest mistreatment and say their initial complaints drew threats of deportation. The State Department is investigating and a team of academic labor lawyers showed up yesterday to talk with students. Among the lawyers, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, is Sarah Paoletti, director of Penn's Transnational Legal Clinic.
Another irony? Hershey laid off 700 full-time workers over the past four years and plans to lay off another 500 next year. One might wonder if cheap-labor kids from other countries were always part of the plan.
Meanwhile, Hershey reports a profit for the quarter just ended of $130 million, up from $46 million a year ago. And sales jumped 7.5 percent to $1.3 billion.
The company is distancing itself from the student flap on grounds that vendors and other temporary-hiring companies made all the arrangements. One such company now says it won't use exchange students again, and all of the companies involved say they'll offer the students a free trip to U.S. landmarks

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