Posted: August 19, 2011
By: Clay Cerny

The students who walked off the job are supposed to be part of a cultural exchange.  One of the students put his reality this way:  “There is no cultural exchange, none, none,” Zhao Huijiao, a 20-year-old undergraduate in international relations fromDalian,China, told The New York Times. “It is just work, work faster, work.”

Maybe this young man is getting a real taste of America, the America where too many people are working more and more while earning less and less.

Posted: August 18, 2011
By: Clay Cerny

400 foreign students walked off temporary jobs at Hershey’s plant in Pennsylvania.  While the temporary workers (J-1 visa) were paid $8.35 an hour, they ended up with less than they paid for the visa after rent and program fees were deducted from their pay.  A Hershey spokesperson pointed out that these employees worked for a third party company (Exel), but that’s the not the point.

The point is:  exploited workers walked off the job.  Verizon’s workers said, “Enough.”  The unions in Wisconsin said, “Enough.”  The people of Ohio have told their anti-labor governor, “Enough.”  Maybe a new day is dawning.

Then, again, maybe not.  Liz Goodwin, writing for Yahoo, notes that many people involved in the J-1 visa program have been exploited.  Employers like this program because they don’t have to pay Social Security.

Enough of gimmicks like the J-1 visa.  Let’s put Americans back to work and pay them decent wages.