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.
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.