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Rather Than Pay Fairer Wages, Businesses Look To Prisons

Above Photo: Inmates provided by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office fill sandbags for distribution to local residents at Mitchell Ellington Park in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias. The storm is forecast to approach the coast of Florida as a Category 1 storm and then parallel the Atlantic coast as it moves north. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

After surviving a deadly pandemic, workers in the US are reluctant to return to unsafe workplaces for poverty wages. Rather than offer better pay, protections, and benefits, businesses are choosing to exploit prison labor.

For months, business owners and corporate media pundits in the US have complained about a “labor shortage,” claiming that businesses are struggling to find new employees because “no one wants to work.” Rather than enticing applicants with more competitive wages and stronger benefits and protections, though, many businesses are opting to exploit prison slave labor.

In this episode of Rattling the Bars, TRNN Executive Producer Eddie Conway speaks with Michael Sainato about his recent report for The Guardian, which details how bosses in the US are exploiting prison labor to maximize profits and avoid paying workers fair wages. Michael Sainato is an investigative reporter and a regular contributor for The Guardian; his work has been featured in outlets like ViceThe Nation, and the Miami Times.

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