Exchange Student Jorge Rios Exploited by a Pennsylvania McDonald’s

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Argentinean foreign exchange student Jorge Rios claims that a McDonald’s he worked at failed to pay overtime and threatened to deport employees who complained.

Rios, 27, participated in a work travel program with a McDonald's franchise in Harrisburg, Penn. He says that he paid $3,000 to participate in the program. According to Rios, the franchise was guilty of exploiting 18 students from Latin America and Asia. The students all paid $3,000 to $4,000 each to participate in the U.S. State Department’s J-1 Summer Work Travel Program.

Last week the workers staged a demonstration to protest their situation and Rios has written to McDonald's CEO Don Thompson seeking to improve the conditions of the workplace. Rios has joined forces with the National Guestworker Alliance in the hopes of bringing the abuses the workers have suffered into the public’s consciousness, reports The Daily Mail.

“We expected to have 40 hours of work a week, but we were given as little as four hours a week at the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour,” Rios said in his letter Thompson. “The employer knew we were desperate for more hours, and he kept us on call to come in with 30 minutes’ notice all day and night. I didn’t even have time to visit the public library.” Rios says the manager of the franchise wouldn’t listen to his complaints and would only respond to his charges with threats.

Rios alleges that the workers had to pay $300 for basement apartments with child-sized bunk-beds that were unsafe. The rooms had little to no privacy.  

“This is not the America we believed in,” Rios said. “We believe America is a beautiful country, where everyone can have respect and fair treatment at work.” He hopes to eventually bring the protest to New York City and hold a demonstration there.

Source: (The Daily Mail)