Mike Elk wrote for Alternet 28 April 2011, Defense Contractors Using Prison Labor to Build High-Tech Weapons Systems
It is a little known fact of the attack on Libya that some of the components of the cruise missiles being launched into the country mayl have been made by prisoners in the United States. According to its website, UNICOR, which is the organization that represents Federal Prison Industries, “supplies numerous electronic components and service for guided missiles, including the Patriot Advanced Capability Missile (PAC-3)”.Maybe you’re out of a job. Can you compete with 23 cents an hour?
In addition to constructing electronic components for missiles, prison labor in the United States is used to make electronic cables for defense items like “the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing (BA) F-15, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, Bell/Textron’s (TXT) Cobra helicopter, as well as electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems”.
Traditionally these types of defense jobs would have gone to highly paid, unionized workers. However the prison workers building parts for these missiles earn a starting wage of 23 cents an hour and can only make a maximum of $1.15 an hour.
More detail in Noah Schactman’s Danger Room story