Military Uniforms to be Made by Prisoners, Leads to Layoffs
September 17, 2012 in Business
Due to a law from 1930, two Alabama companies that manufacture military uniforms have had to lay off or cut hours for hundreds of employees. The law requires contracts to be offered to Federal Prison Industries first. The new contract will also mean a 15% increase in the cost of the Army combat uniform. While the military does provide a clothing allowance, active duty men and women often have to come out-of-pocket to cover their entire uniform expense.
“It has been going on for some time,” One company spokesperson said. “Unfortunately…as demand for uniforms begins to decrease, budgets decrease and the problem gets bigger for us. Therefore we have to lay people off.”
Federal Prison Industries claims its textile program provides inmates with skills for rehabilitation into society. But with most American clothing companies using factories overseas,is the training useful?
Representative Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., is sponsoring a bill which would limit FPI’s ability to take work from private companies: “Here we are having a prison population coming in and taking jobs away from the private sector – why in the world we think this is OK. I can guarantee you if this were a Chinese product with Chinese prisoners making that – we would be outraged.”
While the layoffs will increase jobless numbers for the month, at least the uniforms are still being made on US soil.