Posted by: Ann Corcoran | August 25, 2011

120,000 foreign students invited to US each summer to work, some now on strike

Update #2:  Jim Hoft writing at Gateway Pundit today reports that the number of (American) young people working this summer is the lowest ever, here.

Update:  I see as Hurricane Irene approaches and O’Malley and the mayor of Ocean City close the city, that Maryland has foreign student workers who were evacuated today!  Do we not have enough Maryland high school and college kids who want to work summer jobs in beach resorts in Ocean City?  This is crazy!

This belongs in a not-yet-created-but-needed category called OMG!   Can you believe it—the US State Department has a program known as the J-1 Visa that allows 120,000 foreign students to come to the US to work!  This when AMERICAN KIDS HAVE NO SUMMER JOBS!

How did I learn about this?  That d*** SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and another “guest worker” union have encouraged FOREIGN students to strike at the Hershey Chocolate plant in Pennsylvania!  And, now SEIU is sending out a plea for money—to be sent to SEIU—to help the kids!  This is what SEIU is saying in an urgent e-mail today:

Against all odds, students working for the famous chocolate factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania have gone on strike to fight back against the company’s predatory practices and to win fair wages.

Their story has inspired national attention and a State Department investigation, but since many of them make $8 an hour (with “program fees” and rent automatically dedicated) they’re running out of time and on the verge of being unable to afford basic necessities: food and rent.

The students need to raise $15,000 to keep up the fight, and the SEIU family can help them.  [What! no money and SEIU will walk away?]

Here is what the New York Times said about the “strike” just this week.

About 400 foreign students are working at the Palmyra plant under a summer cultural exchange program for work and travel offered by the State Department. About 120,000 students come to the United States each year on what are known as J-1 visas, which allow them to work for several months and then travel for a month as tourists. Their employment is organized by some 52 nonprofit sponsoring agencies in this country.

The students at the packing plant, who came from China, Romania, Ukraine, Nigeria and other nations, were employed through one of those agencies, the Council for Educational Travel, U.S.A., based in California.

The students protested that they were forced to continuously lift boxes of candy weighing more than 50 pounds and work on night shifts beginning at 11 p.m. on production lines moving too fast for them to keep up. They said that after the council deducted as much as $400 a month from their paychecks for rent, they did not earn enough to cover their expenses or to afford to travel, or even to earn back the up to $6,000 many had paid to obtain the visas.


Most of the students returned to their jobs in recent days, according to a spokeswoman for Exel, the logistics company that operates the plant for Hershey’s.

Several dozen of them wore armbands as a way to continue their protest inside the plant. A small group of students did not return to work but will go on tours in Pennsylvania and New York organized by labor unions. [a little union indoctrination maybe?]

“There’s nothing wrong with paid vacations, but a paid vacation won’t cover up the truth” that Hershey knew, condoned and benefited from the low-wage labor of the students, said Saket Soni, executive director of the National Guestworker Alliance, a labor group that helped the students organize their protest.

What is the National Guestworker Alliance?*  Who did the students pay $6000 to?   Who are these non-profit groups that arrange to help bring foreign kids while your kids wish they had a job!   And, whose brilliant idea is this whole thing?

Most importantly, who makes sure these “kids” leave the country when their time is up?

* Check them out here—it’s all about evil Hershey Chocolates!  And, you know what else is funny?  They are located in New Orleans, isn’t that where ACORN and all its spin-offs were located too?


  1. I have to admit that I was not familiar with this particular slight of hand. But I have questions. 1. Just how did all these J-1 visa students, who reportedly came through La. where Acorn is, accidentally find their way to Hershey Pa., apply for, and get hired to work there? If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say that the State Dept. coaxed the chocolate factory into hiring these kids, probably through tax breaks or some other incentives. Then, after being cozied into their jobs, along comes SEIU to inform everyone of how they are being taken advantage of, paid these insufferable salaries, strikes have to take place, etc. Both the State Dept. and SEIU are working together the whole time to make American business out to be the bad guy. But that is just if I were a conspiracy theorist, we all know that nothing like that would happen in real life, right?

    • Greg, you are probably pretty close to the truth! This is the first I’ve heard of this. I do know there are tax “incentives” for businesses to hire immigrants—its happened right here in Hagerstown, so I expect the State Dept (and the non-profit group middlemen) get the foreign students hooked up with a business and the business gets something out of it.

      I grew up along the Jersey shore and American high school and college kids always had summer employment, so surely there are many American kids who want to live and work in Ocean City for the summer. Instead it appears there are busloads of kids from places like Russia doing the jobs Americans won’t do??? Really!

  2. […] and other indications of exploitation.  [Readers, see my post last August about the strike, here, SEIU was driving […]

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