Prisoners Can’t Take Jobs From Law-abiding Citizens

By John Toscano

“This legislation protects the jobs of law-abiding workers, ...“This legislation protects the jobs of law-abiding workers, ...

Several years ago, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney interceded to save the jobs of employees of a Long Island City company whose livlihoods were threatened by prison labor.

Maloney’s efforts were successful and prompted her to introduce a bill to save other companies facing the same predicament.

"This legislation protects the jobs of law-abiding workers, representatives of organized labor and the entrepreneurs that provides these jobs," Maloney declared.

Last Wednesday, Maloney (D-Queens/Manhattan), testified before the House Small Business Committee on behalf of her bill, the Federal Prison Industries Competition in Contracting Act of 2001.

Maloney recounted the plight of the Glamour Glove Company of Long Island City, saying, "A few years ago, my constituents told me that their company was in jeopardy of being closed down and that many would lose their jobs because of the unfair practices of the Federal Prison Industries (FPI).

"Fortunately, thanks to the hard work of so many people, the plight of Glamour Glove resulted in a positive outcome when we negotiated a compromise with FPI."

However, Maloney continued, "There are many businesses that are not as fortunate as Glamour Glove and are being forced to file for bankruptcy because Federal Prison Industries has cornered the federal market. The result is that hard-working Americans are losing jobs to convicted felons."

Maloney said her bill provides a workable, bipartisan solution to this problem. The legislation, she said, levels the playing field and requires FPI to compete for its contract opportunities.

Under the bill, Maloney said, "For the first time, private sector firms would be able to compete for the federal government contracts that FPI has been able to simply take under its 1935 statute."

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