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May 21, 1998

Willy Wonka busted for labor violations
Labor Dept. raid reveals Wonka’s factory to be a ‘chocolate sweatshop’

HERSHEY, Pa. — The Willy Wonka Confection Factory was shut down Tuesday morning on several counts of labor violations. Acting on a tip from an anonymous child code-named “Charlie,” federal and state agents staged an early-morning raid on the Wonka compound. Upon entering the factory, they discovered dozens of captive Oompa-Loompas kept in what labor officials called “extremely inhospitable, albeit tasty, conditions.”

“Frankly, we were shocked,” said Labor Department Secretary Alexis Herman. “These people were forced to wade in the Chocolate River up to 17 hours a day. They were not permitted to leave the factory grounds under any circumstances, and were occasionally killed in bizarre candy-related mishaps. Wonka was basically running a chocolate sweatshop here.”

Officials were most taken aback by the extremely poor quality of life at the facility. The workers were regularly exposed to chemicals so potent that their skin was stained bright orange, and the whole group was forced to wear ugly white jodhpurs as uniforms. The factory housing was “appalling,” said eyewitnesses, who described scenes of more than 40 Oompa-Loompas cramped into a single bedroom, sleeping in piles of their own nougat.

Despite these hardships, a day’s pay at the factory was $1.14 — hardly enough to live on, considering that the workers were paid in chocolate gilt.

“Wonka hasn’t being paying his workers a loomping wage,” said candy labor leader ‘Chocolate Jimmy’ Hoffa. “He’s taken a sunrise, sprinkled it with labor violations and covered it with chocolate and a pack of filthy lies. I hope they throw his candy-ass in the can.”

Mr. Wonka responded to the charges with a public declaration of innocence. “I am shocked to have these heinous charges levied against me,” he said. “I have shown nothing but kindness to my Oompa-Loompas. I treat them as well as they’ve come to expect, and no better than they deserve. Wait, let me rephrase that.”

Behind the scenes, however, he has maneuvered to keep his business going at all costs. Several days after the factory closure, he resumed production by staffing the factory with Keebler elves as interim workers. A group of Loompa sympathizers quickly assembled outside, picketing the factory and chanting slogans such as ‘Down With Keebler Scabs,’ ‘Wonka is an Everlasting Job-Stopper,’ and ‘No Blood For Candy!’ E.L. Fudge Cleaver, leader of the Loompa-power group The Sugar-Free Panthers, gave a rousing speech urging his brethren to start “stickin’ it to the Candy Man.”

The Oompa-Loompas, for their part, seem excited by the new opportunities available to them. Peggy Lembeck, a social worker helping to resocialize the Oompa-Loompas, reported, “They were very intrigued to learn that people in America do not have to constantly stay indoors for fear of being eaten by Vermicious Knids.” She added that the Oompa-Loompas were also amazed by Western cultural advances such as shoes, computers, and non-sugary foodstuffs. “Poor dears, they thought it was normal to need daily insulin injections by your late teens.”

When asked for comment, a group of Loompas sang, “Oompa, loompa, doompity-dee; We’re very glad that we’ve been set free. Oompa, loompa, doompity-dass; we’re hiring a lawyer to sue Wonka’s ass.”

 

Recent events at the Wonka factory are eerily reminiscent of the violent labor strike at the Electric Company in 1976. For readers too young to remember those four tumultuous days, we provide a synopsis here:

July 21, 1976: The Electric Company slashes worker benefits, cutting suffixes by 50% and eliminating prefixes entirely. Six workers die when their defibrillators become fibrillators.

July 22: Workers barricade themselves inside the Company factory. The Company’s owner, Children’s Television Sweatshop, expresses their hope for a peaceful resolution.

July 23: Letterman turns ‘resolution’ into ‘revolution’ and all hell breaks loose. Riots break out on Sesame Street and Mr. Hooper’s store is looted.

July 24: Company operative Silent E infiltrates the rebellion and turns the ‘coup’ into ‘coupe.’ Happy with their sporty new cars, workers return to their jobs.

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