Horrifying Allegations at Hershey Factory

August 27, 2011

The United States Department of Labor and the State Department have begun investigations into the working conditions at a factory operated by a subcontractor of The Hershey Chocolate Company after hundreds of international students walked off their summer jobs to protest back-breaking work and low pay. 

About 400 international students were employed at the plant as part of a summer cultural exchange program sponsored by the State Department. The students work for two months and then are permitted to travel for another month in the country. 

The students allege that the company paid them the equivalent of $1 an hour, forced them to continuously lift boxes of 50 pounds or more, placed them on night shifts that began at 11 p.m. and prevented them from earning enough money to pay their expenses (or cover the $6,000 cost of the program). 

After trying to remain above the fray for several days, Hershey responded with a series of events at the company's corporate headquarters and ordered the plant to grant the students a week of paid vacation so they can travel. 

Watch more of the students complaints in this video. What do you make of their allegations?

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Nathanael Bassett's picture

The students also led a strike and demonstrated about their greviences -two of them and the director of the National Guestworker Alliance were interviewed about it on Democracy Now! - If you want to hear their perspective, check out http://www.democracynow.org/2011/9/1/alleging_captive_labor_foreign_students_walk