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Prisoner Education Guide

AT&T Exploits Prison Labor

The phone company has found a way to dump union workers, save big money and exploit the labor of prisoners, all at once. According to reports from the Communications Workers, AT&T is contracting out telemarketing jobs to firms that provide labor practically free through the prison system. The company is planning to lay off thousands of telephone operators -- all union members who could perform the telemarketing work. Prisoners, of course, have no option about performing work they are assigned.

What do the AT&T subcontractors pay prisoners for telephone work? Try $2 per day. For that, the prisoners -- essentially slave laborers -- have to call area businesses, identify themselves as AT&T representatives and try to sell AT&T products and services. The prison systems in Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, New Jersey and Florida sell the right to exploit prisoners to a firm called Unibase, which in turn sells the service to AT&T.

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