Polish students unhappy with work at Six Flags New England

Posted Wednesday, September 4, 2002 9:32 AM | Contributed by ravenguy98

Under a visa program originally intended for cultural exchange, the Six Flags New England amusement park employed about 230 Polish students this summer. Some of the students say that after paying about $2,000 for travel and program fees to come to the United States, they were subjected to draconian work and housing regulations. A sponsoring organization of the program says that some of the complaints were not valid.

Read more from the Hartford Courant.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 9:34 AM
Jeff's avatar

What's unusual about working a 60-hour week at an amusement park? If they weren't getting their breaks, yes, that's a problem, but if their expectations weren't met, then someone sold the job to them wrong.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"Let's stop saying 'don't quote me,' because if no one quotes you, you probably haven't said a thing worth saying." - Dogma, KMFDM

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 9:38 AM
Well, a lot of parks use similar programs, including Cedar Point, to supplement their hiring and these are the most significant complaints I have ever heard.
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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 9:42 AM
Kick The Sky's avatar Draconian compared to what? Working conditions and living conditions in Poland? Yeah right.

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Bob Hansen

A proud CoasterBuzz Member

Operation Wicked Twister - Goal: Lose 50 lbs by next season to ride it! (updates soon)

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 9:47 AM

If I lived in Poland, if I wanted to see what America was like, and if I had $2,000, I'd just plan a week's vacation to the U.S. with that money.

Why would anyone want to go to a foreign country just to work??

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He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 9:57 AM
I'm wondering what the expectations of these students were before they came. They appearantly expected a type of vacation where they could see the country and get an opportunity to see what work was like in America. Looks like they should have looked into what they were doing before they did it...

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Jonathan Hawkins
Starcoasters.com
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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 10:26 AM
"Why would anyone want to go to a foreign country just to work?? "

I've interacted with many exchange students from Poland as well as a bunch of other countries at a Cedar Fair park for several years now.

These students do not pay the taxes that American citizens pay. That said, they can make back the money they paid to get here in a few weeks. Plus - $2,000 American can take you a *hell* of a lot further in places like Poland than it can here.

Plus, as stated, they get to practice their English - which a solid knowledge of can land them a great job at home - and see America. Many of them travel the country after their contracts end, and have great experiences.

And as Jeff mentioned 60 hour weeks are common (but not fun) and depending on the state's labor laws breaks aren't even manditory for non-minors.

Regardless - there's plenty of reasons to go to another country to work.

Mike

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 10:57 AM
If what MHammer says is true - then what are they complaining about?!? ;)

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He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 11:19 AM
They paid $2000 to get here.

The thing is, I was under the understanding that instead of Six Flags paying the kids $6.85 tax free, they pay them somewhere around $5.25 an hour which is about the same as an American citizen working there after taxes. So, working 60 hours a week, they make $315 dollars a week, minus $70 that goes straight from their pay check for housing.

Lets go farther: lets say that the average student spends $10 a day on food, which is probably a very, very low estimate. After 7 days a week that's another $70, and all of the sudden our average Polish kid is making under $200 a week, actually, with our very kind estimates, they are down to about $175 a week. Even if they are getting paid $6.85 an hour, then they are down to $271.

At $175 a week they have to work nearly 12 weeks to recoup their $2000. If they got the the park in early June, they have to work all of June, July, and August (the ENTIRE fulltime season), just to recoup their $2000 and that doesn't include any other expenses, just food. They still have to pay for clothing, laundry, transportation to anywhere besides the park, telephone calls back home...in reality, these kids have just spent their entire summers working for a huge multi-million dollar corporation, and aren't going to make a dime, and have traveled not one ounce.

Now, just imagine working at any place of employment that has put you into that situation, and one day you work for 8 hours without one break.

That's not something to complain about?

And I know the next question that is going to be asked..so why didn't they just quit? Well, what would you do if these were your choices?

1. Suffer through the end of the season and try to make as much dough as possible

or

2. Quit, and be immediately deported back home, with $2000 less in your pocket.

Remember what your $10 for parking, $40 for admission, and $3 for bottled water is going for, ladies and gents.

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If the shoe fits, find another one. *** This post was edited by ravenguy98 on 9/4/2002. ***

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 11:28 AM
Jeff's avatar

I don't buy the math. Anyone remember that story in the news about some Eastern European girl who was in tears when she got her bonus check at Cedar Point? She made more there than her family did in a year.

I did recently on ABCnews that Americans actually take the least vacation time of any industrial nation. Ironic that, despite all that, we still lag behind in trade and such.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"Let's stop saying 'don't quote me,' because if no one quotes you, you probably haven't said a thing worth saying." - Dogma, KMFDM

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 11:33 AM
Problem:

Some here are comparing Six Flags with Cedar Fair, when really, they have nothing in common in this situation. For instance: there is no such thing as a "bonus check" at SFNE.

Also remember, these kids not only have to work in America, they have to live here, too. It doesn't matter how much $217 is worth in Poland when they have to spend it here in the states.

You have to look at how these kids were being treated while working at SFNE, along with the math.

And if you don't buy it, then please, offer me something more than, "I don't buy it." It doesn't get me much to work with here, lol.

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If the shoe fits, find another one.


*** This post was edited by ravenguy98 on 9/4/2002. ***


*** This post was edited by ravenguy98 on 9/4/2002. *** *** This post was edited by ravenguy98 on 9/4/2002. ***

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 11:42 AM

"Why would anyone come to a foreign country to work?" Are you kiding me? I used to work at a Steamboat place in Lake George and most of the staff there was from Russia. They come over because the money they make is a lot! I was talking to one person and they said that they made more in a summer at the Steamboat Co. than their parents make in a year in Russia.

Does that answer your question?

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"Life is like a roller coaster; there are ups and downs and it's over all too fast."

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 11:42 AM
Let me tell you that the Europeans that came over and woked at SFGAM and still do work tax free which is nice. They always had loaded checks, made me mad, but oh well.

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BMCOASTER

bmcoaster@wi.rr.com

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 11:45 AM

Looks like SFNE treats their employees as well as their guests! I made my first visit there a month ago and the horrible customer service, especially at their guest relations, almost made me not enjoy myself on SROS!

I do remember a foreign food services worker being exceptionally nice, however. He gave us a cup of water and didn't even roll his eyes at us!

-Matt

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 12:18 PM

I wasn't comparing the experiences between SFNE and CP. I was just saying there are similar programs around the country and I haven't heard any complaints until these kids in New England spoke up.

I will say that in my experiences at Cedar Point, the foreign employees were often leaps and bounds better than the American kids. They were more respectful hands down. However, some of them abused the system by just up a quitting instead of fulfilling their contract so that they could travel before heading back home. I guess those kids didn't need the money as bad as the kids in this article.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 12:18 PM

I work with some exchange students from Poland and Slovakia and most of them are very nice. There were complaints last year about living and working conditions, but things are much better this year.

They work all day and party all night, but all the money they make is more than what is made in their own country.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 1:00 PM
kpjb's avatar

8 hours of screwing in light bulbs without a break is certainly quite demanding.

(and don't start.)

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"When I was growing up, we were taught something called manners. You'd understand that if you weren't such an idiot." - Jack Handey

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 1:02 PM

I know at Valleyfair, many of the employees they receive from overseas are almost toooooo happy to work all the hours they can. Valleyfair lost about 20% of their foreign staff to other jobs this year because they weren't getting 50+ hours a week. My housemate, a girl from Bulgaria, cried for the first week we moved into the house because she was worried she wouldn't make as much money as she did the year before. I do not think it's just the bonus check either... Housing at valleyfair is a bit less, around $35 a week. I'm guessing my roommate made upwards of $2000 over what it cost for her to come here. And if you complain to your supervisor (at least in operations) that you are getting to many hours, I think at least this year they would have been more than happy to oblige...

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 1:11 PM
BullGuy's avatar It's not just Six Flags New England. I talked to a Polish Ride-Op (Batman: Knight Flight, SFWoA) who was dissapointed with his pay and hours. (not enough) He said that he was leaving before the end of August because of those factors. It doesn't matter what nationality though, I'm sure these people could find jobs just as good in their home country. The only real benefit I see is coming to America, seeing how it is here, maybe learning a bit of the English language, and then using that knowledge to their advantage when they apply for jobs back home.

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Thank You for challenging TOS: The Ride. We hope you enjoy the rest of your day, here at Coasterbuzz. *** This post was edited by BullGuy on 9/4/2002. ***

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Wednesday, September 4, 2002 1:16 PM
For a minute I thought this was a Pollack joke... Tounge firmly in cheek... *** This post was edited by Snoopy on 9/4/2002. ***
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