In early March, student workers from Asia and Latin America launched a surprise strike against their employer, a McDonald’s in central Pennsylvania. The students, who paid between $3,000 to $5,000 to come to the United States as part of the J-1 cultural exchange visa program, alleged that they were assigned shifts of up to twenty-five consecutive hours, were paid less than the minimum wage, lived in substandard employer-owned housing and faced retaliation when they raised objections. Hours after the students began their work stoppage, they found themselves locked out of the employer-owned basement where they lived.


The student strikers are demanding a meaningful meeting with appropriate McDonald’s executives. Join The Nation’s call imploring McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson to meet directly with the students. Then head to the National Guestworker Alliance and join the students’ campaign.


In this latest in his series of reports on the McDonald guest-worker campaign, Josh Eidelson details the workers demands and expectations.


McDonalds workers mic check at Times Square New York City Franchise on March 14.