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View Full Version : Dude, Dell uses prison labor!


peter2002
Jan 9, 2003, 07:52 PM
Protesters Decry Dell's Prison Labor Use

LAS VEGAS - Environmentalists dressed in prison uniforms circled a collection of dusty computers outside the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday to protest Dell Computer's use of inmates to recycle computers.

"I lost my job. I robbed a store. Went to jail. I got my job back," chanted five mock prisoners wearing "Dell Recycling Team" signs and linked by chains.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030109/ap_en_bu/gadget_show_protest_2
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Hey, handling a used Dell is a dirty job. Somebody's got to do it. On the enviro angle, that has been way overblown. Ain't nobody dieing from old computers. That is just plain BS. The only ones dieing are the ones ticked from crashing winblows and then throwing it out the office window that then crashes on the head of an unsuspecting Apple iPod user. The others are the ones playing at the computer cafes. Oh well...

Pete :D

idkew
Jan 9, 2003, 09:20 PM
Originally posted by peter2002
Protesters Decry Dell's Prison Labor Use
Hey, handling a used Dell is a dirty job. Somebody's got to do it. On the enviro angle, that has been way overblown. Ain't nobody dieing from old computers. That is just plain BS. The only ones dieing are the ones ticked from crashing winblows and then throwing it out the office window that then crashes on the head of an unsuspecting Apple iPod user. The others are the ones playing at the computer cafes. Oh well...

Pete :D

You are very mistaken my dear friend.

People are VERY sick from old computers. We ship our old computers and monitors... to other countries. They accept this junk for cash. people who live around these dumps are suffering from lead poising, and other types of problems. Unfortunately computers are toxic and are not environmentally friendly.

chmorley
Jan 9, 2003, 09:32 PM
True. In addition, "prison labor" in the US isn't the knee-jerk inflammatory thing we have come to be taught is "bad". There are rules governing it--the most important of which are a) it is voluntary, and b) it is paid. For many offenders, it gives them an opportunity to leave prison with some money in the bank so they don't have to commit a crime to pay the rent. The only true concern is that it potentially gives some companies an unfair advantage because the labor is pretty cheap. However, this is not Chinese "prison labor", in which prisoners are forced to work for no wage.

Just because Dell is doing it doesn't mean it's bad.

Chris

medea
Jan 9, 2003, 09:42 PM
I have to agree with the two comments above, old computers need to be recycled and not just added to our waste, and using prison workers is smart, they don't have to pay them very much and the convicts actually do something with their lives instead of fighting each other in the courtyard (ok maybe thats a bit dramatized....) and it is also well governed. Never heard of convicts stamping license plates eh?

rainman::|:|
Jan 9, 2003, 10:34 PM
ummm... okay... why the hell are environmentalists complaining, exactly? i'm all for recycling of computers, and this way it gets done. gives the prisoners something positive to do, and as was said, money for their release.

shouldn't prison-labor-reform-advocates be protesting?

i think these wackos are confused...

pnw

chmorley
Jan 9, 2003, 11:31 PM
Originally posted by paulwhannel
...shouldn't prison-labor-reform-advocates be protesting?

i think these wackos are confused...Actually, prison-labor-reform advocates would be in favor of this--especially if the prisoners are being trained in a skill they can continue after they're released. Working in offender rehabilitation, this sounds like a pretty progressive program.

"wackos"...:rolleyes:

How about "people I disagree with" or "people whose argument I don't understand" or "people I will attempt to belittle so as not to listen to their opinions". Dismissing people saves time and makes critical thinking unnecessary. Nice work.

Chris

rainman::|:|
Jan 10, 2003, 02:03 AM
Originally posted by chmorley
How about "people I disagree with" or "people whose argument I don't understand" or "people I will attempt to belittle so as not to listen to their opinions". Dismissing people saves time and makes critical thinking unnecessary. Nice work.

Chris

Okay then, prison-labor-reform-reform-advocates. You know what i meant.

As for the wackos comment, i think it was obvious i was joking around... But what they're doing doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Obviously they're not concerned with the recycling that goes on here, they want to take it further, jobs for people *outside* of prison and they're against the "unsafe" conditions that these prisoners are voluntarily working in. Dell does something that they should applaud, at least making a concerted effort at recycling their computers, and these "environmentalists" instead attack them, because it's not exactly as they wanted it. Trust me, I did use critical thinking here. I didn't dismiss them, i labeled them. After judging them based on their actions. May not be the greatest thing anyone ever did, but people do a lot worse than lightheartedly calling a group of four extremists "wackos".

pnw

moby1
Jan 10, 2003, 09:37 AM
Originally posted by chmorley
...In addition, "prison labor" in the US isn't the knee-jerk inflammatory thing we have come to be taught is "bad". There are rules governing it--the most important of which are a) it is voluntary, and b) it is paid. For many offenders, it gives them an opportunity to leave prison with some money in the bank so they don't have to commit a crime to pay the rent.
Chris

Prison wages are pennies on the dollar. The inmates use this money to buy toiletries, soda, candy & running shoes - and drugs.

It gives the offenders a skill then could use in China or Singapore to make .30 an hour. Nobody commits crimes to pay the rent, they commit crimes to buy drugs.

This program benefits Dell. Dell is using it to make more money.

I've decided to buy a Mac.

Now you decide.

Kid Red
Jan 10, 2003, 02:56 PM
Well said moby1, surprised no one else sees how negative this is for Dell to do. A step up from sweatshops, well actually, sweat shop employees probably make more. Just another reason to hate Dell.

rainman::|:|
Jan 10, 2003, 02:57 PM
i've seen plenty of people first-hand turn to crime to pay both bills and to feel their families. but that's not the point. if a prisoner is determined to get drugs, he will. at least now they're providing a way to make some money for a fresh start. Despite how overwhelmingly bad our prison system is, there are those that do actually come out rehabilitated and they should have every opportunity at a fresh start. Otherwise we'd just kill 'em all or never release them so there wouldn't be repeat offenses.

pnw

diorio
Jan 10, 2003, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by Kid Red
Well said moby1, surprised no one else sees how negative this is for Dell to do. A step up from sweatshops, well actually, sweat shop employees probably make more. Just another reason to hate Dell.

Correct me if I'm wrong:

Prisoners commit violations of laws established by the general will of the American people.

They go to prison as punishment.

They have a choice on whether or not to participate in prison/work activities such as picking up litter or helping recycle these computers. The alternative is sit in your cell.

The money earned from this goes to help pay for amenities.

Where is this anything like a sweat shop? These people have commited crimes and are probably glad to be doing something. Reckless hate of those you oppose is not always the way to go. Sure Apple is better, but this is no reason to hate Dell.

I live very near Florence Colorado, one of the highest prison concentrated areas in the US, and trust me, inmates have it good, real good.

jelloshotsrule
Jan 10, 2003, 04:29 PM
i don't know much about prison labor, so i won't really comment on that

but it's funny to see so many people upset about this, when nike is still the top selling shoe, and nearly every company making ANYTHING "in" america is actually using sweatshop labor

people complain as if they care... but what kind of shoes are you wearing? where is your "gap" sweatshirt made?

chmorley
Jan 10, 2003, 06:30 PM
Originally posted by moby1
Prison wages are pennies on the dollar. The inmates use this money to buy toiletries, soda, candy & running shoes - and drugs.

It gives the offenders a skill then could use in China or Singapore to make .30 an hour. Nobody commits crimes to pay the rent, they commit crimes to buy drugs.

This program benefits Dell. Dell is using it to make more money.

I've decided to buy a Mac.

Now you decide. Very dramatic. Not very informed.

I "decided" years ago. I have used Macs for the last 13 years. This isn't about "deciding", but about having an informed opinion. This story doesn't change my opinion about Dell.

I work in prisons. I know what goes on there. Do you? Or do you just watch Oz?

Let me make sure I am clear here: given the choice between prisoners a) given unstructured time in which they choose how to spend their "free time" and b) earning the privilege (something that is taken away for misbehavior) of working in a program in which they can earn money to pay restitution (a requirement of every work program I know of) and have structured productive days, you choose a? Why? Because Dell benefits?

The research literature is clear--the prison system as we have known it in this country makes people worse. People leave more likely to commit crimes. As a society, our response has been stiffer prison sentences. This has made matters worse.

Most prison work programs are actually required to pay a prevailing wage. This is both to protect the inmate and to ensure that companies don't gain an unfair advantage over those who don't participate in these programs. In many instances, there are state laws mandating this. I don't know the specifics of this program. Do you? If not, saying they are paying "pennies on the dollar" is simply an assumption.

I don't like Dell as a company because they choose not to spend any money on R & D. They copy the innovation of others, and don't carry the load. I don't buy Dell because of that.

Chris

Durandal7
Jan 10, 2003, 07:26 PM
This seems too cruel even for prisoners, especially if working for Dell is anything like in their commercial, with Steven and the interns lurking around.

Disclaimer: The above post was a joke at Dell's expense and should in no way be taken as a serious opinion on the subject of prison working conditions and/or environmental concerns.

chmorley
Jan 10, 2003, 10:11 PM
Originally posted by Durandal7
This seems too cruel even for prisoners, especially if working for Dell is anything like in their commercial, with Steven and the interns lurking around. I have to say, I never considered this. Even if only Steven is involved, this clearly represents inhumane working conditions.

Chris

moby1
Jan 11, 2003, 12:31 AM
Originally posted by chmorley

Most prison work programs are actually required to pay a prevailing wage....They (Dell) copy the innovation of others, and don't carry the load...

Chris

O.K. This is too complex an issue to discuss here but I did do some quick research and I found some suprising facts.

- Boeing, Victoria's Secret, Eddie Bauer and more have participated in these programs. Microsoft & AT&T had established plans but backed out due to public pressure.

- The payments vary widely by state. Less than $1/hr in some states, current minimum wage in others.

- The inmates families get a good portion of the money in California.

- The stats I saw had "restitution" and "victim compensation" payments listed last, about 1% of total each. Taxes came first, then more taxes.

- Many inmates like the programs very much. Some inmates have sued because of alleged human labor offences. Prison workers like the programs because it keeps the inmates busy.

- The prison population of the U.S. has about doubled since the Apple /// was announced.

moby1
Jan 11, 2003, 12:35 AM
I know Macs are made in Taiwan, Singapore & Mexico where assembly workers are paid very low wages.

This is a complicated problem.

diorio
Jan 11, 2003, 10:27 PM
Originally posted by chmorley
Very dramatic. Not very informed.

I "decided" years ago. I have used Macs for the last 13 years. This isn't about "deciding", but about having an informed opinion. This story doesn't change my opinion about Dell.

I work in prisons. I know what goes on there. Do you? Or do you just watch Oz?



Chris

You don't commute from Denver to Florence do you? Between I25 and Highway 115, I wouldn't want to do that.

As for the issue of sweatshops, lets try to look at the other side, most industrializing countries go through periods where large factories take advantage of employees through low pay, dangerous conditions, and long hours. Then, workers unionize and conditions better. This is what happened in America during the industrial revolution and is similar to what is going on in industrializing nations today. While it is not right, and I don't agree with it in anyway, sweatshops ultimately lead to better conditions through unionization. Lets hope that this happens soon.

Phil Of Mac
Jan 18, 2003, 05:12 PM
Prison labor should be required and for no pay. Whatever is produced by prison labor should be sold and the money used for restitution.

If you break into my house, smash my TV, and steal my computer, it's only fair that you work your ass off in prison building stuff so I can get the money made from selling those things to buy a new TV and computer. That's justice.