Foreign students say visa program abused- work in 'sweatshop', stage walk out

Discussion in 'Economy' started by Trajan, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    I think there should have been some oversight here, I know its easy for them to get lost in the system but damn, there were v300 of them in one place....


    Foreign students say visa program abused

    For years, it has been touted as a form of vacation diplomacy: a U.S. government program that selects college students from across the globe to come work at beach resorts, amusement parks and other seasonal jobs. In the process, the visitors are expected to imbibe American culture, practice English and take home fond memories.

    But this August, a group of students complained that their work conditions were closer to a sweatshop than a summer break, sparking demands for government intervention and a firestorm of bad publicity that federal officials are now trying to tamp down.

    More than 300 young foreigners, packing candy in a warehouse in Pennsylvania, staged a high-profile walkout and protest against their employers and the State Department, which oversees the program. They alleged that they had been worked to exhaustion and had met few Americans except supervisors who pressed them to pack faster and threatened to have them deported.

    “My parents agreed to send me because it would be a way to improve my English,” wrote Aysel Kiyaker, a student from Turkey who paid $3000 for her airfare and work visa. “They told us the job would be easy and fun and they would have pizza parties for us.”

    Instead, Kiyaker found herself lifting heavy boxes on long shifts in the rural factory, owned by the Hershey Company. “After work my whole body was numb,” she wrote in an affidavit for the National Guestworker Alliance. She said one friend was threatened after she complained, and another was fired for not working fast enough. “After that happened, people were more afraid.”

    The non-profit guest-worker group took up the students’ cause and filed a formal complaint against the State Department, as well as Hershey and the Council for Educational Travel USA (CETUSA), charging that they had exploited the students as cheap labor. The strike ignited a media frenzy and raised alarms in Congress, in part because of concerns that American workers were being displaced.

    more at-
    Foreign students say visa program abused - The Washington Post
     

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