Students, SEIU protest Hershey Chocolate again

28 Sep

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One-thousand labor supporters and student workers took to the streets of the Hershey to protest the chocolate maker Friday afternoon.

They want the company to pay back the students the $3,000 to $6,000 they spent to come to the United States. They say it’s a drop in the bucket for the company to pay.

“When we add that up together, it’s a million dollars to handle all the students that’s one day of profit, so to me it seems that its not too much to ask of Hershey,” Mary Kay Henry, SEIU International President said.

Secondly, they want the jobs the students filled to be given to local workers.

“The four hundred jobs that these students did over the summer, those jobs need to be turned into living wage jobs for people right here in this community,” Henry said.

The Pennsylvania President of the AFL-CIO, Richard Bloomingdale, was on hand Friday, and said Hershey is trying to ignore them.

“They have hunkered down in their corporate headquarters in hopes that it blows over because the students will all be going home and they’ve said well, we’re not going to use the J-1 program anymore so maybe it will all go away,” he said.

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Students who were a part of the program say, it wasn’t what they were expecting.

“The work was totally hard and I didn’t expect something like this and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say to my parents because they spent a lot of money to send me here and they just really wanted me to have a great summer here traveling and working,” worker Malwine Siegien said.

Regardless, protestors say these jobs would be better utilized in local workers’ hands.

ABC27 spoke with the Hershey Company and they said that the distribution center in Palmyra where the students work is operated by the Excel Corporation out of Columbus, Ohio.

The Excel Corporation said these students knew what they were signing up for when they joined the program. As for the demand by the unions for the jobs to be made into regular full time positions, they said the jobs are seasonal.

Article posted by Spencer Samaroo, Managing Director, Moo-Lolly-Bar
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Source: ABC 27

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