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Privatizing and Outsourcing Manufacturing Jobs in Prisons is Contributing to Low Wages

WHEREAS, the manufacturing jobs once performed by African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities, and other working class people who belonged to unions and were receiving collectively bargained wages and benefits; and

WHEREAS, the North American Free Trade Agreement and other such agreements encouraged corporations to outsource and relocate to low income countries with no unions or safety and labor standards; and

WHEREAS, the blue collar non-union and union workers have been adversely affected by these agreements with corporations cutting wages and benefits and forcing older people to retire early; and

WHEREAS, privatized correctional facilities have added to the problem of lost jobs once performed by working class union members and non-union members by calling it Vocational Training for inmates, which would allow them to return to their communities with a skill; and

WHEREAS, as an example, the Department of Corrections and an Alabama-based Ready-Built Transmission Company has a joint venture whereby inmates will be split into three categories: skilled workers will earn $1.25 an hour, semi-skilled workers will earn $1.00 per hour and unskilled workers will earn $.75 per hour; and

WHEREAS, more than 150 inmates have started working at the transmission plant as a result of this joint venture between the Pendleton Correctional Industrial Facility, the Department of Corrections and the Alabama-based Ready-Built Transmission Company, where inmates will repair parts for The United States Post Office vehicles across the nation; and

WHEREAS, the prison does not want to go through the trouble of training workers only to have them leave, so the goal is to increase the inmate population from 150 to 300 working a maximum of 20 hours a week;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that entities that employ prison labor be required to employ individuals that have worked for their company upon release for a period of at least two (2) years; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP and its units will monitor this slave-type exploitation of inmates for profit; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will advocate before Local, State and Federal policy making bodies and appropriate government regulatory agencies to adopt regulations that will require prisons and private contractors to pay a living wage, and that the money earned by the prisoners shall be divided equally among an amount to be paid to the prisoners during their incarceration, a victim's assistance fund, child support and a trust fund to be made available to the prisoner upon release; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP will advocate for legislation to require that companies engaging in prison labor who provide health care and other benefits to their permanent employees and their family members provide this same coverage to inmates and their family members.