McLaughlin: "Slave labor" used to fight CA wildfires
Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the wildfires in Sonoma, Napa and elsewhere in California. We have been moved by stories of the generosity and courage shown by first responders, neighbors and strangers alike.
Among some of the more surprising stories to come out of this emergency is the widespread use of prison labor in fire fighting. In the last few weeks, former Richmond mayor and current Lt. Governor candidate Gayle McLaughlin has sought to raise critical awareness about prison fire-fighting, which she compares to slave labor. While praising all those who have risked their lives to fight the fires, she has also pointed out that California inmates work for wages as low as pennies a day. Firefighting prisoners earn $2 a day or $1 per hour during active fires.
“They’re volunteering to work, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be getting a fair wage,” McLaughlin said in an interview with Sacramento News & Review. “This is abuse of incarcerated individuals. A dollar an hour to stand at the frontlines of a wildfire is slave labor.”
Gayle favors ending private prisons, and a real minimum wage for all inmate labor, including inmate firefighters. To get involved in Gayle’s campaign, click here.
And to read more, check out the following articles:
Finally, for a list of grassroots organizations providing wildfire and hurricane relief, take a look at this resource from the Sunflower Alliance.