Foreign workers say they were mistreated at Six Flags New England

Posted Monday, September 13, 2004 11:05 AM | Contributed by supermandl

Foreign workers at Six Flags New England say they were treated unfairly and not given the hours they were promised.

Read more from The Republican.

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Monday, September 13, 2004 11:16 AM
Eh... sounds like a "he said" - "she said" situation.
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Monday, September 13, 2004 11:30 AM
eightdotthree's avatar Sounds like this is more Alliance Abroad's problem than Six Flag's. If the kids were told they would be working at a beach resort and ended up in New England someone screwed up.
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Monday, September 13, 2004 11:31 AM
Well, this isn't the first case of foreign workers at parks complaining. But, I doubt there is much merit to it. Parks go overseas b/c they desperately need the help. I'm not sure why they would then bite the hand that fed them.

My experience with the foreign worker programs was largely positive except I often lost the workers before the end of their contracted end dates because they wanted to "see the real America" before returning home. Let's face it, if you were a foreigner going to America for the first time, how exciting would Sandusky be to you?

If there is real abuse of the foreign workers I suspect that the word would get around and parks would find it more difficult to tap that resource in the future.

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Monday, September 13, 2004 12:12 PM
matt.'s avatar This is the second year in a row, at this park alone. Wahoo, you have to understand that there is virutally an unlimited amount of young people in foreign countries that are willing to take on this kind of work. The news story from before was with Polish workers, this year it is Brazillian and Turkish workers. I don't know about too many other Six Flag's but a few years ago there seemed to be many kids from France at SFGAm, and many from Columbia at SFA.
*** This post was edited by matt. 9/13/2004 12:19:23 PM ***
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Monday, September 13, 2004 12:16 PM
janfrederick's avatar If they wanted "Real America", they should have opted for Great America. ;)

*** This post was edited by janfrederick 9/13/2004 12:16:54 PM ***

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Monday, September 13, 2004 12:54 PM
Jeff's avatar I was gonna say... I thought this was the second time it happened at this park.

On my trip to CP the week before last, "dead week" as it's often called, I had a waitor at Famous Dave's from one of the former Soviet republics (I forget which one). It's a great time of year because the internationals get a chance to have more responsibility and be more on the front lines. I'm always amazed at the difference in their work ethic and attitude compared to American kids.

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Monday, September 13, 2004 1:31 PM
I was at Water Country USA this past weekend and alot of college students on visas were from Poland, Russia and the former Czech Republics.

Matt... The ones from Columbia are from the Distrit of Columbia ;)

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Monday, September 13, 2004 3:11 PM
phoenixphan :-)'s avatar Hmmm...it seems to me like these kids have some inflated idea of what working in America would be like. I am sure that things can not be too bad, at least better than some of the working conditions in their home countries. I would jump at the oppurtunity to work a summer at a SF park, no matter how bad the pay or the irregularity of the hours, but thats probly just becouse of the perks like unlimited use of the park. Can anyone tell me why we don't see more domestic (American) employees working at parks, especially ones near large urban centers like SFNE??
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Monday, September 13, 2004 3:20 PM
matt.'s avatar SFNE has trouble getting workers because you can get much better pay at the Dunkin Doghnuts down the street with about half the amount of BS involved that's at Six Flags. This makes it hard to find people to work, and, more importantly, retain the people that DO come in.

It would be interesting to see what percentage of workers come back for a second year at SFNE, Cedar Point, a Disney Park, and an well run independant such as Holiday World.

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Monday, September 13, 2004 3:24 PM
(note: never worked at a park, just pulling together previously posted information)

1. You don't get free reign of the park as you're imagining it.

2. Free reign of the park is NOT a draw for much of the "target" workforce in question

3. The work is long, it's usually hot and you have to deal with a lot of people, most of which are bound to annoy the crap out of you

4. The pay is average at best, usually below what you can get at the air conditioned, closes at 9pm every night mall

5. Working at an amusement park ranks up there with McDonalds and Wendys - it's just another job and if you really want to get ahead, you'll avoid it because people that get dragged into it never get away from it and soon see their friends passing them by in pay scale, time off, sleep, etc. etc.

Just my observations - you might think it's a dream job but you're in a microscopic minority.

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Monday, September 13, 2004 6:26 PM
If I recall correctly, Dick Kinzel started working in food service at Cedar Point in the 70s. He's presently the CEO. Certainly that's not likely to happen to everyone who works at a park, but I don't think I'd throw it in the same boat with McDonald's and Wendy's.
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Monday, September 13, 2004 6:34 PM
Working at an amusement park had to be one of the funnest jobs I have ever been to. The pay aint that great but its really fun. As far as foreigners... they are cool to hang around with. They come here mostly to make alot of money. My friends (who I am still in contact with) come to work at PKD every year and make the same amount of money in about 3 months that they do in thier country (Poland for this example) for a year. Usually seasonal amusement parks are open for about 6-7 months out of the year so I don't see what the complaint is. They should just work in thier own country if they are in my opinion.
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Monday, September 13, 2004 7:30 PM
phoenixphan :-)'s avatar Trust me, I have worked in retail so I know what a crap job is like. I don't understand these people that complain about it, I mean if you don't like it quit and find something more suitable. And as for it being "just another day at the job" I never tire from seeing different people day after day, and seeing the smiles on peoples faces when they are having a great time. IMO I think that these kids are just getting an inflated pitch by someone as to how great a job these are, and not being told you will have to be flexable and a people person. Sounds to me like SF needs to start recruiting at the local strip mall or Target, and get some people who are used to getting paid minimum wage...
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Monday, September 13, 2004 7:40 PM
McDonald's CEO, Charlie Bell, is an Australian guy who also started flipping burgers at 15. He went up through the ranks, without even stopping along the way to get any university degrees. It's not that Kinzel isn't an inspirational leader, but I'd say Bell has him beaten in this department.

I think it's sick to see people thinking, "it must be better than what they have at home, so why are they complaining?" Firstly, I'd say if they're complaining it probably isn't better and secondly why don't these people deserve a good standard of life while they're living and working in America? 99.9% of these people come out and want to work enthusiastically and they do the best job they can. That's more than you can say for your average Six Flags employee. Just give them the things they were promised, treat them fairly and they'll be happy and keep coming back day after day to put in a solid day's work. If they get screwed over they definitely have a right to complain.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004 7:51 AM
matt.'s avatar Phoenixphan: You aren't getting it. These kids can't just "quit" and get another job. They came to this country with work visas that only last for a certain time, to work at SFNE, or SFA or where ever. They don't have cars, they (on the whole) don't have much work experience, some of them don't have the best language skills, and they're being put in room and board at Six Flags, if they quit they have nowhere to go except back home. If they feel like they aren't getting treated the way they should be, its pretty much a lose lose situation all around.
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