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McDonald's franchisee under fire - abc27 WHTM

McDonald's franchisee under fire for treatment of exchange students

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Local McDonald's franchisee Andrew Cheung continues to face criticism, both in the midstate and nationally.

This comes after his alleged treatment of exchange students who worked at his three area McDonald's restaurants.

It was just two weeks ago that several people involved in the U.S. Department of State's J-1 Visa Visitor Exchange Program protested outside a Cumberland County McDonald's.

The students worked at Cheung's restaurants and lived on his property. They said the conditions at both locations were very harsh.

"There's a lot of labor violations here," said Kathy Jellison, president of the SEIU. Local 668. "No overtime paid, they're working them double shifts, not enough hours between shifts."

And they said six to eight men and women were squeezed into bunk beds in basements.

It is reminiscent of the situation in Hershey in August 2011, when hundreds of student exchange workers protested against the Exel company, which ran a Hershey-owned factory. Student-exchange workers there they said they were treated like slaves.

The movement eventually prompted the State Department to push for major changes in the J-1 program. The new rules limit the hours and jobs participants in the program can work.

"It's a shame that this happened again after what happened in Hershey," said Pierre MaCoy of Harrisburg, who advised the students on what to do about their conditions.

"Hopefully, there aren't other businesses that are the using the J-1 as a source of cheap labor," MaCoy said.

"Now, I don't see a problem with J-1 students working at McDonald's or any place like that," said Jellison. "But they have to be treated like human beings."

Andrew Cheung has declined comment in the past. We called one of his stores on Tuesday. A worker said they would ask him to call us. We never received a return call.

Cheung has resigned from the board of the local Ronald McDonald House charity.

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