Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Unicor Slave Labor in U.S. Prisons

UNICOR - List of U.S. federal prisons

Our Hiring Process; Business. Acquisitions; Solicitations & Awards; ... Federal Prison Industries (commonly referred to as FPI or by its trade name UNICOR)

Slave Labor in U.S. Prisons

Have you Ever Heard Of UNICOR - well here is some shocking information

The expanding use of prison industries, which pay slave wages, as a way to increase profits for giant military corporations, is a frontal attack on the rights of all workers.

Labor in federal prisons is contracted out by UNICOR, previously known as Federal Prison Industries, a quasi-public, for-profit corporation run by the Bureau of Prisons. In 14 prison factories, more than 3,000 prisoners manufacture electronic equipment for land, sea and airborne communication. UNICOR is now the U.S. government’s 39th largest contractor, with 110 factories at 79 federal penitentiaries.

Prisoners earning 23 cents an hour in U.S. federal prisons are manufacturing high-tech electronic components for Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles, launchers for TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles, and other guided missile systems.

A March article by journalist and financial researcher Justin Rohrlich of World in Review is worth a closer look at the full implications of this ominous development.

Prison labor — with no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions, benefits, health and safety protection, or Social Security withholding

The majority of UNICOR’s products and services are on contract to orders from the Department of Defense.

Giant Multinational Corporations purchase parts assembled at some of the lowest labor rates in the world, then resell the finished weapons components at the highest rates of profit. For example, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Corporation subcontract components, then assemble and sell advanced weapons systems to the Pentagon.

— also makes complex components for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing’s F-15 fighter aircraft, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, and Bell/Textron’s Cobra helicopter.

Prison labor produces night-vision goggles, body armor, camouflage uniforms, radio and communication devices, and lighting systems and components for 30-mm to 300-mm battleship anti-aircraft guns, along with land mine sweepers and electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder. Prisoners recycle toxic electronic equipment and overhaul military vehicles.

Increased profits, unhealthy workplaces

However, the Pentagon is not the only buyer. U.S. corporations are the world’s largest arms dealers, while weapons and aircraft are the largest U.S. export.

The U.S. State Department, Department of Defense and diplomats pressure NATO members and dependent countries around the world into multibillion-dollar weapons purchases that generate further corporate profits, often leaving many countries mired in enormous debt.

But the fact that the capitalist state has found yet another way to drastically undercut union workers’ wages and ensure still higher profits to military corporations — whose weapons wreak such havoc around the world — is an ominous development.

According to CNN Money, the U.S. highly skilled and well-paid “aerospace workforce has shrunk by 40 percent in the past 20 years.

Like many other industries, the defense sector has been quietly outsourcing production (and jobs) to cheaper labor markets overseas.”

It seems that with prison labor, these jobs are also being outsourced domestically.

Meanwhile, dividends and options to a handful of top stockholders and CEO compensation packages at top military corporations exceed the total payment of wages to the more than 23,000 imprisoned workers who produce UNICOR parts.

The prison work is often dangerous, toxic and unprotected. At FCC Victorville, a federal prison located at an old U.S. airbase, prisoners clean, overhaul and reassemble tanks and military vehicles returned from combat and coated in toxic spent ammunition, depleted uranium dust and chemicals.

A federal lawsuit by prisoners, food service workers and family members at FCI Marianna, a minimum security women’s prison in Florida, cited that toxic dust containing lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic poisoned those who worked at UNICOR’s computer and electronic recycling factory.

Prisoners there worked covered in dust, without safety equipment, protective gear, air filtration or masks. The suit explained that the toxic dust caused severe damage to nervous and reproductive systems, lung damage, bone disease, kidney failure, blood clots, cancers, anxiety, headaches, fatigue, memory lapses, skin lesions, and circulatory and respiratory problems. This is one of eight federal prison recycling facilities — employing 1,200 prisoners — run by UNICOR.

After years of complaints the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Occupational Health Service concurred in October 2008 that UNICOR has jeopardized the lives and safety of untold numbers of prisoners and staff. (Prison Legal News, Feb. 17, 2009

Even though the women work under strict guidelines, which forbid them to ask callers for personal information or tell them their calls have been routed to a prison, the jobs can be enjoyable and provide some relief from the rigidity of prison life, Corum said. “They had some fun, but the pay is still lousy,” she said, “and the whole thing is a racket that’s making money for the prison and unfairly competing with legitimate businesses.”

Unfair competition with private business is high on the Communications Workers of America’s list of concerns with the federal call centers because of the resulting loss of jobs for its members

Then they send in there Dogs  

The system has its defenders outside the prison system. Journalist Harry Sheff, in an article for a web-based business magazine, wrote in July that “Unicor call centers don’t compete with American jobs — they only take on contracts that were about to be outsourced overseas.”

Other voices of protest are coming from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose director of legislative affairs told National Public Radio in September, “We do not believe Federal Prison Industries should continue its unfettered expansion into the commercial marketplace. ... The business community is extremely concerned about this.” Future expansion by Unicor is possible because of the enormous increase in the prison population in recent years — an involuntary workforce numbering close to 200,000 now and increasing by about 2.5 percent annually.

Unicor now offers more than 140 products and services for sale to other government agencies, with more than half its output bought by the Department of Defense — by far its largest customer, especially since the beginning of the Iraq war.

Like every other defense contractor, Unicor has benefited from the war and dislikes competition. 

” Unicor directors wrote in the 2006 annual report. “We are positioning to a post-war environment.”

Another similarity between Unicor and other military contractors has been its propensity for corruption.

In this case the computers were destined to be sent to poor school districts under a presidential order of Bill Clinton. Somehow, FPI got to them first, hauled them out of the warehouses, and began a huge, illegal, garage sale

Hoekstra’s evidence showed that during 1999 FPI took almost 60,000 excess items from the Defense Department alone, worth $481 million, and in 2000 added 83,000 more excess items with value estimated at just under $89 million.

The company would have topped the $1 billion mark in illegal sales, the chairman said, if not for the “vigilance of a dedicated public servant” who blew the whistle.

Here is a Video related to Unicor is Hiring

The moment an order is written, whether it’s a warrant or a traffic ticket, or whatever, the money machine is activated. Every prisoner has a monetary value to our government whether its local, county, state or federal.

Bonds are written based on the person’s name and social security number and are sold through a brokerage firm such as AG Edwards or Merrill Lynch who has the contract to sell all the prison bonds for the city, county, state or federal prisons.

Over 50% of the money market bonds right now are purchased in Japan or China. I’ve been told by researchers that Walmart and, used to be, Kmart also purchase these bonds, Walmart mostly doing so by emptying out bank accounts at night. Both companies are fronts for enormous money machines.

The way the bond works is that a monetary value is placed on the alleged crime and then factored the way banks factor their money. In other words if a person is convicted of a felony the ‘value’ would be $4 million. The county/city/ state then multiplies it by ten, so the bond that goes out for sale with the prisoner’s name and social security number is a short-term ‘promissory’ note. It’s offered at $40 million. Perhaps an investor will offer 40% of the $40 million, or $16 million. Once this ‘promissory note’ of the face value of $40 million reaches the banks it is then multiplied again by 200 to 300% and sold as bank securities. For those of you who wonder why the US has more people in prison per capita than any other nation on earth, you’ll begin to understand how we can have a weakening economy and still fund wars overseas. It’s all based on other words, prison for profit

This is just some points for more information on Unicor see links attached and sources

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  1. When Chinese dignitaries visited Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery Alabama all prisoners were pulled off work details to hide the fact that the u.s. also has forced labor.