At a time when it gets harder to maintain profits as sales dwindle, one way to cut costs is to lower your labour expenditure through firing, wage cuts or hiring in cheap staff. What better way to do this than to use slave labour. More and more US Corporations are turning to the private prison system who have an endless supply of workers that they barely have to pay. The good thing for the corporations is the prisioners have no worker rights and can easily be laid off when required

This is worse than serfdom, and how private prisons are allowed to get away with it is disgraceful. Any corporation found to engage in this practice needs to be boycotted.

Getting Paid 93 Cents a Day in America? Corporations Bring Back the 19th Century

Nearly a million prisoners are working in call centers, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73.
Sweatshop labor is back with a vengeance. It can be found across broad stretches of the American economy and around the world.  Penitentiaries have become a niche market for such work.  The privatization of prisons in recent years has meant the creation of a small army of workers too coerced and right-less to complain.

Prisoners, whose ranks increasingly consist of those for whom the legitimate economy has found no use, now make up a virtual brigade within the reserve army of the unemployed whose ranks have ballooned along with the U.S. incarceration rate.  The Corrections Corporation of America and G4S (formerly Wackenhut), two prison privatizers, sell inmate labor at subminimum wages to Fortune 500 corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM.

These companies can, in most states, lease factories in prisons or prisoners to work on the outside.  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.

Rarely can you find workers so pliable, easy to control, stripped of political rights, and subject to martial discipline at the first sign of recalcitrance — unless, that is, you traveled back to the nineteenth century when convict labor was commonplace nationwide.  Indeed, a sentence of “confinement at hard labor” was then the essence of the American penal system.  More than that, it was one vital way the United States became a modern industrial capitalist economy — at a moment, eerily like our own, when the mechanisms of capital accumulation were in crisis.

 

Source: alternet.org

Related: The US Finds Solution to Competiveness

 

Advertisements