4. In prison and on strike
For the second day, inmates in 17 states are on strike for, among other demands, higher wages at commercial jobs that often pay them less than $1 an hour and don't lead to work when they are released, reports Axios' Michael Sykes.
Among these jobs: firefighting. More than 2,000 inmates are battling California's wildfires, but the likelihood is that none with a felony record will manage to obtain a firefighting job on release from prison, despite their experience, mainly because of licensing rules.
Why it matters: For-profit companies hire inmates at rates far below minimum wage and manufacture goods at low cost, said Brianna Peril, founder of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. Rival "businesses can't compete with that," Peril tells Axios.
By the numbers: Nearly 700,000 prisoners have daily jobs through federal correctional programs like Unicor, which made $453.8 million in sales last year, and many work for for-profit companies like McDonalds, Whole Foods and Walmart.
- The average inmate worker makes 63 cents an hour working non-industry jobs.
- Industry jobs at state-owned businesses pay an average of $1.41.
This in part is what leads some to call the labor situation "modern-day slavery." The backdrop is that African Americans are 13% of the total U.S. population, but 40% of the country's prisoners.
Read Michael's whole post.