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According to a 2008 article, at least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum.

Source:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289 (2008)
http://www.freemanacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/MCC-Essay-Brooklyn.pdf (2015)
http://repository.usfca.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1274&context=capstone (2015)

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History Spotlight

June 24, 1867 - "Thousands of Chinese Railroad Laborers Strike in Western U.S." Between 5,000-7,000 thousand Chinese laborers working on the Transcontinental Railroad staged a strike in the Sierras to protest overseers who whipped and restrained them from seeking other work. They won the right not to be whipped or beaten. A second strike in Nevada desert won Chinese laborers the right to receive the same pay as their White counterparts.  But the Chinese were still required to buy their own supplies while Whites got free room, board and supplies.

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