Big Brands making a killing from inmate labor, a slavery replacement

prison laborVery neatly written exposition of how prisons have replaced slavery as a means of augmenting the wealthy of the wealthy – on the backs of society’s most vulnerable.

“Insourcing,” as prison labor is often called, is an even cheaper alternative to outsourcing. Instead of sending labor over to China or Bangladesh, manufacturers have chosen to forcibly employ the 2.4 million incarcerated people in the United States. Chances are high that if a product you’re holding says it is “American Made,” it was made in an American prison. read more

Christie’s dismal record on union/labor rights just got worse

Christie, sweeney, bookerChristie has assaulted vulnerable New Jersey residents and labor rights all the years of his governorship. Next City shares the low-down on what Christie’s gotten away with, and how he’s done it.

Take public education: having promised when he was campaigning to take care of New Jersey’s teachers, after getting into office Christie proceeded to systematically destroy public ed, along with teachers’ and students lives and the bloodshed is far from over. Newark and Camden have been among the communities hardest hit. read more

Congressman Bill Pascrell says NO WAY to TPP at press conference

Pascrell rally against TPPAt a press conference at UFCW in Clifton, Congressman Bill Pascrell on 28 May 2015 announced his opposition to “Fast-Track authority” of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is now headed for Congressional vote. Although the bill to Fast Track the TPP bill was recently approved by the Senate, New Jersey’s Bob Menendez and Cory Booker voted against it, and now Cong. Pascrell will have his chance to do the same.

Truthout offers an explanation of what Fast Track is and why Americans should rally against it. read more

Prison to Whole Foods Pipeline: artisanal foods crafted by inmates

Prison work in progress
Flickr: kathrynsdays / Via Kathryndays Flickr
Fortune publishes the oddest stuff. This intriguing article covers the burgeoning artisanal food prison business, thriving because its labor force is prison inmates that earn – get this – 60¢ an hour. Although, Colorado Corrections Institute director Steve Smith points out, a whole $3-400 a month can be earned with incentives (emphasis mine). Naturally, the prison industry itself profits handsomely from these relationships as middleman and overseer, making it pretty clear what has been driving Big Money’s strategy to lock up 1% of the United States population. The US is returning to a slave labor model … and calling it “help” for prison inmates. UK politics professor Genevieve LeBaron says, read more

Nike continues a long tradition of youth exploitation

Nike child labor exploitation

Nike child labor exploitationSome kids buy Nikes. Others kids make them.

When I shared this graphic on Facebook, friend Leen de Weerd-Mosley commented that Nike’s long history of youth exploitation,

… all started with their logo. They held a competition, and paid 50 euros to the student who designed it. Nope, no royalties … Paid $35 in 1971; offered 500 shares worth $150 when it really became public in 1983

The Daily Mail tells us

At the party in her honour in 1983, an early Nike employee joked, ‘As everyone here knows, (Carol Davidson) invented the Nike swoosh and got paid the outrageous sum of $35 bucks for it’ read more

Postpone Colombian trade agreement until workers are treated right

It’s hard to understand why the Free Trade agreement the US has made with Colombia is a bad thing, but this article lays the issues out pretty well. Basically, workers aren’t treated too well down in Colombia and when labor activists try to step in and organize unions for the workers’ protection, the activists are, “assassinated, threatened, and intimidated, and the perpetrators enjoy almost complete impunity.”

Union leaders and other worker advocates, seem to be saying that the US should throw its weight behind trade embargoes to force Colombia to improve conditions for its country’s work force. That means a US moratorium on trade with Colombia and agreements to trade, until worker conditions are put right. A few days ago, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote President Obama asking him to, “postpone indefinitely the implementation of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement”. How about it, Prez? read more