You are hereNational Guest Worker Alliance: Work Stoppage Exposes McDonald’s Labor Abuse

National Guest Worker Alliance: Work Stoppage Exposes McDonald’s Labor Abuse

Student guestworkers faced wage theft, 25-hour shifts, substandard housing

March 6, 2013- student guestworkers from around the world will hold a work stoppage to expose severe exploitation at McDonald’s restaurants in Harrisburg, Lemoyne, and Camp Hill, PA.

They will join U.S. workers and labor leaders in demanding that the fast food giant take responsibility for labor abuse at its restaurants.

The student guestworkers, from Argentina, Peru, Chile, Malaysia, and other countries, paid $3,000 apiece to participate in the U.S. State Department’s J-1 student guestworker program, expecting decent work and a cultural exchange. Instead, McDonald’s used them as a sub-minimum wage exploitable workforce. Students faced:

  • 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

Students will march from their housing to one of the McDonald’s franchises where they worked. There, they and their allies will demand:

  1. That McDonald’s pay students back for the substandard housing that brought their wages below minimum wage;
  2. That the McDonald’s franchisee cease hiring J-1 student guestworkers and offer his full-time work to his U.S. workers instead;
  3. That McDonald’s forbid its franchisee and labor recruiter from retaliating against student workers for organizing for their rights;
  4. That the McDonald’s franchisee and its labor recruiter be barred from sourcing J-1 student guestworkers in the future; and
  5. That McDonald’s adopt basic labor standards for its franchises and reveal other guestworkers at its stores to prevent future abuse.

“We’re taking action because the system isn’t fair and somebody has to change it,” said KahInn Lee, a student worker from Malaysia. “No one else should have to go through what we did.”



Backbone Campaign
Liberty Tree
Progressive Democrats of America
Peoples Email Network
Justice Through Music
Locust Fork Journal
Berkeley Fellowship UU\'s Social Justice Committee
The Smirking Chimp
Progressive Democrats Sonoma County
Center for Media and Democracy
Chelsea Neighbors United
Atlanta Progressive News
Yes Men
No Nukes North