Friday, July 08, 2011

Slavery Introduced In Wisconsin

A working definition of slavery might be something like forced unpaid labor that normally would be compensated. By that definition the use of unpaid prisoners in Wisconsin to do work formerly done by union workers would seem to fit. From Truthout:

"While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) law dismantling collective bargaining rights has harmed teachers, nurses, and other civil servants, it’s helping a different group in Wisconsinites — inmates. Prisoners are now taking up jobs that used to be held by unionized workers in some parts of the state.

As the Madison Capital Times reports, “Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a ‘union-only’ job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place.” Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.

The law went into effect last week, and Racine County is already using inmates to do landscaping, painting, and another basic maintenance around the county that was previously done by county workers. The union had successfully sued to stop the country from using prison labor for these jobs last year, but with Walker’s new law, they have no recourse."

Which begs the question did Walker's supporters know that introduction of slavery was part of the package? Another incentive for corporate investment in Wisconsin?

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