Striking Because They Paid to Come Here and Work, Not Be Mistreated

Josh Eidelson (number of days I’ve gone without posting something about Josh Eidelson: 0) has written about a must-read story about a guest worker strike in Pennsylvania that’s happening today. Seventeen student workers from Latin American and Asia who paid $3,000 each to come over on J-1 Visas and work at McDonald’s are protesting alleged abuses and mistreatment:

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.

His article reveals a lot about the guest worker program in the U.S., and it’s not pretty (“’This has really been a nightmare,’ said Rios. ‘Because we paid so much money to come here to make these people richer, and then being mistreated…everything is so bad.'”)

It’s also something I’ve thought about exactly two other times, when I listened to the This American Life episode about a rest stop in New Jersey that employed guest workers, and when I listened to another This American Life episode about a steel plant in Oklahoma that used guest workers.

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