Imagine living in an unfinished basement, sleeping on bunk beds with eight strangers. Imagine being forced to work 25-hour shifts at minimum wage and having to hand your paycheck over to your landlord. Imagine getting grease burns up and down your arms and not having access to a doctor. Now, imagine you’ve paid thousands of dollars to be treated this way.
For a group of cultural exchange students working at a McDonald’s in Harrisburg, PA, they say this is reality.
Last week, this courageous group of students working in the United States on J1 cultural exchange visas went on strike to protest a situation that was less like cultural exchange and more like indentured servitude. They were here to experience American culture firsthand, but instead of getting a taste of our country’s rich cultural heritage, they learned the shocking truth about the way many American corporations treat their workers: poverty pay, wage theft, arbitrary punishment, and no respect for human dignity.
These conditions are all too familiar to fast food workers in New York City. With wages too low to meet our basic needs and unpredictable scheduling, we face a daily challenge of survival. Most Americans think conditions like this exist only in sweatshops far away--but it’s actually happening right under our noses.
Your support has helped to move fast food workers in New York City, Chicago, Harrisburg, and beyond to take a stand for the American Dream and a better life, speaking out and striking against abuses at work. We have a long fight ahead, and your support is critical.
Fast food workers in New York City and across the country stand with the Pennsylvania guest workers in their fight for fairness. The problems they face are emblematic of fast food workers across the country. This fight isn’t just for one group of workers -- it’s for all of us, and those who come after. We will stand together until justice has been served.
Thanks for standing with us,
Martina May, Taco Bell Employee
Stephon Warner, McDonald’s Employee
New York, NY
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