Prison labor booms as unemployment remains high; companies reap benefits

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via thepeoplesrecord:

Prison labor booms as unemployment remains high; companies reap benefits

Prison labor is being harvested on a massive scale, according to professors Steve Fraser and Joshua B. Freeman.

“All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day,” the professors write.

And some prisoners don’t make a dime for their work, according to the Nation, which notes that many inmates in Racine, Wis. are not paid for their work, but receive time off their sentences.

The companies that do pay workers can get up to 40 percent of the money back in taxpayer-funded reimbursements, according to RT.

That not only puts companies that use prison labor at a distinct advantage against their competitors, but, according to Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, it means American workers lose out.

“It’s bad enough that our companies have to compete with exploited and forced labor in China,” Paul told the Nation. “They shouldn’t have to compete against prison labor here at home. The goal should be for other nations to aspire to the quality of life that Americans enjoy, not to discard our efforts through a downward competitive spiral.”

Companies like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, Starbucks and Walmart all take advantage of that so-called “competitive spiral.”

One of Walmart’s suppliers, Martori Farms, was the subject of an exposé by Truthout in which one female prisoner described her typical day working for the private company.

Currently, we are forced to work in the blazing sun for eight hours. We run out of water several times a day. We ran out of sunscreen several times a week. They don’t check medical backgrounds or ages before they pull women for these jobs. Many of us cannot do it! If we stop working and sit on the bus or even just take an unauthorized break, we get a major ticket which takes away our ‘good time’.

In response, Joseph Oddo, Martori Farms’ human resource director, told the Guardian that the company is no longer using inmates because prisons are not always able to provide workers on call the way they need. Oddo also said that workers were provided enough water, but the prisoners didn’t sip it slowly enough.

In a press release on Walmart’s site, Ron McCormick, vice-president for produce, said, “our relationship with Martori Farms is an excellent example of the kind of collaboration we strive for with our suppliers.”



#NoKXL #RejectandProtect #CowboyIndianAlliance

photo by Jenna Pope.

Watch a live stream here of the protest and tipi gifting here….


Yesterday, a round dance stopped traffic in Georgetown.
Media preview

via Dallas Goldtooth

Video here with Chief Rueben George speaking…

via Idle No More
keystone xl protest

The banner says: “Standing in the water could get me arrested. TransCanada (Corp.) pollutes drinking water and nothing happens.”

via here

Today ,Lakota rapper Frank Waln will be one of the artists performing in on the National Mall in DC as part of the protest.  Frank said the other day on his Facebook, “Two years ago, I was inspired by people back home protesting the KeystoneXL by stopping trucks that were carrying pieces of the pipeline from crossing our rez. I was sitting in my dorm room in downtown Chicago all homesick, wishing I could be there. I did the only thing I knew how to do. I made a song. I called it “Oil 4 Blood”. It was just my way of expressing my solidarity. A small contribution from a rez kid rapper. Two years later, it’s inspiring to see us organizing on a national scale and taking that message to the Capitol Hill.

Tomorrow, I’m flying out to Washington DC to join my relatives in the Reject and Protect protest against the KeystoneXL pipeline. I’m performing on SATURDAY at 1:30pm at the Tipi camp on the National Mall. I’m going to rock this song as hard as I can for my ancestors, for my family and for our Mother Earth “

I think it’s incredible that a song written as an expression of solidarity is now an integral small part of this national protest. Way to go, Frank.