No more kisses for Hershey

This really is disgusting. Hershey is now retaliating, kicked the students out of their housing. The POWER Act would protect workers like these students from employer retaliation when trying to organize for dignity and respect on the job:

Hershey, PA—After six weeks of mounting national pressure on Hershey’s for exploiting J-1 student workers and depriving local workers of living wage jobs, former student workers at the Hershey’s packing plant organized a 1,000-strong march in Hershey for justice and jobs on Friday, Sep. 23.

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The students—who paid $3,000-6,000 each to come to the U.S. for a cultural exchange and instead became captive labors at Hershey’s packing plant—organized and became members of the National Guestworker Alliance. With support from Central PA residents and organized labor, the students held a walk-out and strike from the Hershey’s plant on Aug. 17.

Four federal agencies launched investigations into the exploitation of J-1 student workers at the Hershey’s plant, and nearly 70,000 Americans signed a petition in support of the students’ demands: 1) return the $3,000-6,000 students paid for false promises of a cultural exchange, and 2) turn the 400 jobs they filled in the Hershey’s packing plant into living wage jobs for local workers.

Hershey’s maintains a wall of silence, hoping that when the students returned to their home countries at the end of the summer, the pressure would end. Instead, the students organized hundreds of local workers and labor leaders into a growing fight for living wage jobs—including Friday’s 1,000-strong march.

As the march neared, Hershey’s launched a PR campaign to attempt to discredit the students, and hired Blank Rome Government Relations to lobby Congress on “government affairs issues related to labor practices.”

The Hershey’s story goes to the heart of the current debate over the sources of America’s jobs crisis. Decades of downsizing, outsourcing, and subcontracting by corporations like Hershey’s has robbed local workers of living wage jobs, while locking immigrant workers—and even cultural exchange students on J-1 visas—into situations of captive labor.

6 thoughts on “No more kisses for Hershey

  1. So much for the all-American face Hershey’s would like people to believe. Under the mask it’s just another inhuman Corporation like all the rest. Last Hershey’s I’ll ever buy.

  2. I think Milton Hersey would be disgusted with the current management of his company. In the depths of the depression he planned and built a new factory to keep the local people working and, I believe, completed the original Hersey amusement park.

  3. I will miss the occasional Hershey’s Kiss and, especially, their dark chocolate gold wrapped whatever they’re named pieces. I could eat just one and feel really satisfied.

    But there are other chocolate manufacturers — but I will need to investigate who is fair to their workers.

    Anyone know anything about other manufacturers?

  4. Hershey bought the rights to manufacture Cadbury products in the US a few years ago. Also the UK Cadbury was bought by Kraft.

  5. Has anyone talked about organizing a national boycott? Halloween, Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter must be a lot of their sales. Seems like it could have an impact and potentially hurt their brand for a long time. Just sayin’.

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