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Resolutions & Amendments

Other International Executive Board Resolutions

Use of prison labor

International Executive Board, 1989


There appears to be a growing movement in various parts of the country to use prison inmates to replace public employees in a variety of jobs; and


One of the latest attempts in this direction, at least partially in response to a lawsuit filed by New Jersey against New York City for polluting its beaches, is the agreement between the Governor of the State of New Jersey and the Mayor of New York City to use prisoners from each of their jurisdictions to help to clean up their beaches; and


Under a so-called pilot project beaches in Staten Island and New Jersey would be cleaned up by prison inmates under supervision of correction officers, with continuation and expansion of the program to be based on evaluation of the 1989 program; and


Earlier such pilot projects using prison inmates to provide services normally performed by public employees have turned into permanent programs such as the operation of New York State Department of Motor Vehicles information services by prison inmates; and


The proposed beach cleanup arrangement ignores the fact that there are New York City and New Jersey public workers who can and ought to do this job, or seasonal employees, or young workers who are also available for such work; and


Regular or temporary public employees cleaning the beaches do not endanger public security, do not require additional supervision and guarding by armed prison personnel, and do not pose a risk to other employees and supervisors and therefore cannot be a more expensive workforce.


That AFSCME strongly oppose the use of inmates to replace public employees, and specifically for cleaning the beaches of Staten Island and New Jersey.


That AFSCME assist Councils in New Jersey and New York to present the issue of community security and budget economy to the general public.


That AFSCME support the Councils involved in the struggle to preserve effective and efficient public services in their fight against the proposed pilot project by all appropriate means, including legal measures and political action.