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09 August 2010 @ 04:13 pm
Oh, for fleep's sake: BP using unpaid prison labor to clean up the Gulf spill  
Quoted it toto from Jim Hightower's blog:


With BP's well capped and CEO Tony Hayward exiled to Russia, perhaps you thought that the BP horror story is coming to a close, that surely there will be no additional revelations to enrage you. But now comes this: Prison labor.

In its national PR blitz to buff up its image, the oil giant has loudly boasted that it has been hiring devastated, out-of-work local people to handle the clean-up. Many have been hired, but not nearly enough, according to the people themselves. The Nation magazine now reports a big reason for the shortfall. BP has been using inmates – literally a captive workforce – to do much of the shoveling and scooping to remove oil from Louisiana beaches. What a deal for BP! It gets very cheap workers who're guaranteed to show up on time, do what they're told, and keep their mouths shut.

In the early days of the clean-up, crews suddenly appeared on beaches wearing scarlet pants and white t-shirts with bold red letters spelling out, "Inmate Labor." Investigative reporter Abe Louise Young writes that the sight of prison laborers outraged the local community, so they were removed.

Not the inmates, the uniforms! Now they wear BP shirts, jeans, and rubber boots with no prison markings, and they are moved to and from the job in unmarked white vans. How many are there? No officials with BP, the feds, or the State of Louisiana could or would tell Young. How much are the prisoners paid? A local sheriff's official told Young, "They're not getting paid, it's part of their sentence."

However, BP is getting paid for this labor. By you and me. Under a little known tax provision passed during the Bush regime, corporations can get a "work opportunity tax credit" of $2,400 for every work release inmate they hire. To see Young's full article, go to http://www.thenation.com .
guppiecatguppiecat on August 9th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
You know, as long as it gets cleaned up, I'll be reasonably happy. Punishment of BP would be nice, but it's far less important than minimizing the damage.
Janet Miles, CAP-OM: ottar-oopsjanetmiles on August 9th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
I can see that POV. But I'm peeved that BP is being reimbursed by the USA taxpayers for using unpaid labor.

I suppose one could argue that the reimbursement covers things like supervisors, training, and equipment, but it still aggravates me.
siliconshaman on August 10th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
None of which they're actually providing you know...
K. Pease: memory issuesceruleanst on August 9th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
But it's not getting cleaned up, not really. They're making the the very surface of the beach look good while leaving most of the oil in the sand just underneath, where the tide and foot traffic can churn it up later. [1] And the dispersants they're using don't actually clean the water, they just make the oil in the water less visible. Not to mention the toxicity of the dispersants themselves. BP won't do it right unless their feet are held to the fire with the force of law.

And when BP's way of addressing the health and safety concerns of working in oil-contaminated water is to lie to its workers [2], the fact that they're basically using slave labor with no right to opt out of the job becomes more of an issue.