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Wed Mar 6, 2013, 11:18 AM

McDonalds Guest Workers Stage Surprise Strike

Source: The Nation

Josh Eidelson

Alleging unpaid wages and repeated retaliation, McDonalds workers in central Pennsylvania launched a surprise strike at 11 AM this morning. The strikers are student guest workers from Latin America and Asia, brought to the United States under the controversial J-1 cultural exchange visa program. Their employer is one of the thousands of McDonalds franchisees with whom the company contracts to run its ubiquitous stores.

“We are afraid,” striker Jorge Victor Rios told The Nation prior to the work stoppage. “But we are trying to overcome our fear.”

The McDonalds corporation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The J-1 visa program is officially intended to promote educational and cultural exchange. But advocates allege that J-1, like the other guest worker programs that collectively bring hundreds of thousands of workers in and out of the United States each year, is rife with abuse. The National Guestworker Alliance, the organization spearheading today’s strike, charges that such programs—whose future is intimately tied up with the fate of comprehensive immigration reform—offer ample opportunities for employers to intimidate workers, suppress organizing, and drive down labor standards.

FULL story at link.


Read more: http://www.thenation.com/blog/173217/mcdonalds-guest-workers-stage-surprise-strike#

33 replies, 4896 views

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply McDonalds Guest Workers Stage Surprise Strike (Original post)
Omaha Steve Mar 2013 OP
nolabear Mar 2013 #1
alp227 Mar 2013 #12
Populist_Prole Mar 2013 #16
alp227 Mar 2013 #22
bluedigger Mar 2013 #2
Robb Mar 2013 #3
WilmywoodNCparalegal Mar 2013 #4
DainBramaged Mar 2013 #5
BumRushDaShow Mar 2013 #6
nadinbrzezinski Mar 2013 #20
kyeshinka Mar 2013 #7
alp227 Mar 2013 #13
Chisox08 Mar 2013 #19
L0oniX Mar 2013 #8
R. Daneel Olivaw Mar 2013 #9
patrice Mar 2013 #10
discharge Mar 2013 #11
Omaha Steve Mar 2013 #23
discharge Mar 2013 #27
Omaha Steve Mar 2013 #31
Sunlei Mar 2013 #14
Judi Lynn Mar 2013 #15
Sherman A1 Mar 2013 #17
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #18
Dryvinwhileblind Mar 2013 #21
lovuian Mar 2013 #24
underpants Mar 2013 #25
Omaha Steve Mar 2013 #26
redqueen Mar 2013 #28
grntuscarora Mar 2013 #29
Omaha Steve Mar 2013 #30
Paul E Ester Mar 2013 #32
Brigid Mar 2013 #33

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 11:26 AM

1. America, land of opportunity. Remember when we were proud to say that?

Now it seems "Bringing Third World Values Home" would be a better slogan. These are the things that people get tired of, and I hope our system works to reverse it. Fast.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:40 PM

12. Just "be a good worker", say the authoritarians,

and then you'll earn that good wage. Last month a Thom Hartmann caller suggested "being a good worker" rather than unionizing!

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Response to alp227 (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:50 PM

16. Holy cow! That caller was an uber tool

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Response to Populist_Prole (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 03:30 PM

22. Yep I thought he was paid by one of those wingnut welfare orgs,

reading from a prepared script.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 11:26 AM

2. Furriners don't understand how we do things here.

They should leave their labor organizing ways back in the socialist paradises.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 11:27 AM

3. Article is a must-read.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 11:33 AM

4. Bravi! Bravissimi! The J visa is rife with abuse

Even within my own realm of employers, I've had to butt heads and say no when someone wanted a J-1 visa worker to get around the H-1B cap or some other stupid reason.

Bottom line: J visa is for bona fide training or internship. It cannot be used to fill a position. It cannot be used as 'employment' and it cannot be used to get around H-1B rules simply because you're too cheap to pay the H-1B prevailing wages.

The problem is that the J visa is administered the U.S. Department of State. USDOS allows a certain number of third-party agencies to issue the DS-2019 (the form that entitles its holder to the J visa). These agencies are predatory scum who take advantage of foreign people who legitimately intend to come to the U.S. as a learning experience and to pad their resumes. Instead, they 'sell' the idea that the J position will be just like a real job, even if they represent to the U.S. government otherwise.

They don't have to pay a certain wage to the trainee/intern and they know the trainee/intern only has a maximum of 12 months (18 months in limited cases).

The J visa program as originally intended is a great way to improve cultural exchanges, but the way it is used 9 times out of 10 is simply for less-than-honest reasons.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 11:47 AM

5. SOME HERE WILL CHEER THEIR PLIGHT, CLAIMING THEY GOT A FREE TICKET TO AMURIKA

but we know the truth

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 11:53 AM

6. Sounds like the same thing had happened at Hershey Chocolates

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #6)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 01:57 PM

20. It's exactly the same thing

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 11:55 AM

7. Nice contrasts

 

Students from abroad strike. Americans sit there, glumly working for less money and dignity every year like lemmings and take it up the rear. One group of people thinks it has the best jobs, best health care, and best standard of living in the world, and the other group is right.

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Response to kyeshinka (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:42 PM

13. Well said, see my reply 12 to confirm your view of how Americans have been conned. n/t

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Response to kyeshinka (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 01:38 PM

19. Americans have brainwashed into believing that if they work hard enough

they will make it to the top. The average American has been tricked into fighting against themselves for the benefit of the rich and powerful. The history and the importance of unions are no longer be taught in school, but it's replaced with learning not to question authority.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:04 PM

8. Free market capitalism ...don't cha just luv it. n/t

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:10 PM

9. I would love to see all guest worker programs either severly curtailed or ended


until most Americans out of work are able to land a job.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:17 PM

10. Solidarity!

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:22 PM

11. Omaha Steve,

 

Thank you for sharing so many stories on the labor movement. Not to hijack the thread but a group of I.W.W. members are on strike in Minneapolis. If anyone could help with the strike fund, that would be great. https://www.wepay.com/donations/sisters-camelot-strike-fund-donations

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Response to discharge (Reply #11)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 05:05 PM

23. Not hijacked at all


I sent the story around to several friends.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Reply #23)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 08:54 PM

27. Solidarity !

 

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Response to discharge (Reply #11)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 09:32 AM

31. I was going to donate


But the link isn't working.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:43 PM

14. visa guest workers, this is where all the local jobs went and this is why states will not raise

minimum wage. As foreign workers- contracter companies have to pay them states minimum wage.(after they take out a cut for their profits) they even charge the Visa worker students fees to get into the 'student program'.

President Obama has asked Congress to raise the FEDERAL minimum to 9.00 an hour. That way all the states have to raise their minimum wage to match the 9.00 an hour.
You can bet on it ALL these companies who bring in visa workers to do all the jobs local Americans used to work, will start using American workers again.

If Congress will raise the Federal minimum wage to 9.00 an hour- like President Obama asked them to do recently.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:45 PM

15. Thank you. n/t

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 01:13 PM

17. K&R

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 01:16 PM

18. Corporations consider "Freedom" to be a loophole.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 02:08 PM

21. Boycott all corporate fast food...I've felt better for years w/o that crap. eom

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 05:39 PM

24. wow bring in slave labor and don't pay them

unbelievable

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 06:36 PM

25. They don't live in the US news bubble. They are aware of their rights.

good for them

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 07:56 PM

26. Update food safety ignored etc


http://www.qsrweb.com/article/209393/McDonald-s-guestworkers-claim-food-safety-and-wage-violations

Snip: Their accusations include:

As few as four hours of work a week at $7.25 an hour, with exorbitant housing deductions that brought their net pay far below minimum wage;

Shifts as long as 25 hours with no overtime pay;

Being packed into employer-owned basement housing, up to eight students to a room, for $300 each per month;

Threats to cut hours further and surprise home visits from the employer and McDonald's labor recruiter to suppress complaints; and

Being made to re-label expired salads as fresh and to keep unsold burgers that should have been disposed after 30 minutes up for sale for up to six hours.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Reply #26)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 01:06 PM

28. K&R

The workers are striking over what they charge are rampant abuses at their stores in Harrisburg and nearby Lemoyne and Camp Hill. According to NGA, the visiting students each paid $3,000 or more for the chance to come and work, and were promised full-time employment; most received only a handful of hours a week, while others worked shifts as long as 25 hours straight, without being paid overtime. “Their employer is also their landlord,” said Soni. “They’re earning sub-minimum wages, and then paying it back in rent” to share a room with up to seven co-workers. “Their weekly net pay is actually sometimes brought as low as zero."

“We are living in (a) basement,” said Rios, “cramped together, with no divisions, in bunkbeds which are meant for children.”

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 01:18 PM

29. update: "Foreign student workers locked out of their home following McDonald's protest"

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Response to grntuscarora (Reply #29)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 02:28 PM

30. They would have to be legally evicted


The workers can now WIN in court on this improper eviction issue.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 01:07 PM

32. This program was run out of Hillary Clintons state department

 

On the heels of well documented abuses of the program at the chocolate factory it makes you wonder about her concern for workers.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 04:21 PM

33. This only goes to prove once again . . .

That employers will do anything, say anything, to exploit workers. And all too often, they get away with it.

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