The real undervalued workforce

| 22 Sep 2023 | 03:33

    New York State is battling a migrant crisis. Fentanyl is invading our communities, most recently claiming the life of a one-year old at a Bronx day care. Crime is through the roof, revenue is down, and every day more and more New Yorkers pack up and move away.

    Are any of these issues on the mind of our State Senator, James Skoufis? Not according to a recent opinion piece he and Brooklyn’s State Senator Zellnor Myrie wrote titled “Commentary: A Captive Market” in the Times Union on September 17. The two progressive Democrat legislators attempted to make a case for increasing the wages of what they call undervalued inmates.

    Hold on a second! That can’t be right?! Inmates, incarcerated persons are the ones who are undervalued?? Not the correction officers, medical staff, teachers, or support staff who work throughout New York State under stressful circumstances brought about by policies, like the HALT Act, instituted by our State Legislature? I had to read and re-read that article. But sure enough, our senator’s perspective and concern is that inmates are an “undervalued workforce.”

    In a nutshell, Corcraft is a “preferred source” for municipal office furniture which is assembled by inmates in state prisons and jails. As a “preferred source” Corcraft has cornered the market on supplying municipalities with furniture and storage cabinets while paying inmates only 65 cents an hour. Skoufis and Myrie beg the question: “...why is the state turning a blind eye to the inhumane wages being paid to Corcraft’s roughly 2,000 incarcerated workers in the first place?”

    There are plenty of people who are undervalued in New York State. Law enforcement officers, both police and correction officers, and all of our first responders are undervalued. With public safety clearly not a concern for our Democrat-led State Legislature, our taxpayers are undervalued. But, no, Mr. Skoufis, our inmates in New York State prisons and jails are not the ones who are undervalued.

    Dorey Houle