"Arbeit macht frei" is a German phrase meaning "work brings freedom" or
"work shall set you free/will free you" or "work liberates" and
literally in English, "work makes free". It became the unofficial slogan
of Nazi concentration camps, as the prisoners would enter the camp they
would see the wrought iron sign over head and would savor its message.
If I do what these people are compelling me to do, I can regain my
freedom. But it was a mixed message, while the prisoner interpreted as
regaining his freedom his slave masters read it another way, work makes
free. Your work makes products free, for that is the essence of slave
labor, compelled indentured or forced labor. The Nazi's employed
thousands in their war machine for these slaves were captured prisoners
or undesirables or both and it was essential to keep them busy for the
good of the state.
For unlike America, the Germans looked down on Rosy the riveter they
preferred their ladies to stay home to make babies for the next
generation of the master race. But the Reich needed labor, so what's a
Fuehrer to do? The Japanese as well, had huge programs of forced labor
during world war two and thousands died at the hands of their slave
masters. It would be easy enough to assume that their slave masters were
wantonly cruel, but that misses the point completely, it is the very
nature of slavery to dehumanize the slave.
The slaves of the American old South were purchased property, their
owners had a monetary investment in them, while they could be wantonly
cruel if they wanted to, it didn't make sense from a business
standpoint. The Germans and the Japanese had tens of thousands of
prisoners and if they didn't move fast enough or work hard enough, they
could easily be dispatched and another was available to take their
place. The guards, however lowly their stations in life were gods above
their charges and the slaves lived their life between their threats and
Both regimes had their reasoning and tried to explain away their crimes
with veiled excuses of work and training programs. The prisoners were
being relocated to safer areas of Germany to protect them from allied
air raids or the prisoners were being moved to Japan in empty transports
where more food was available. All slave masters can explain away their
crimes except for one, how is it that you are paid for your work and
they are not?
The Gulags in Soviet Russia chewed through tens of thousands of
prisoners being reeducated and instructed in the correct way to view
their government. They weren't slaves at all; they were students being
reeducated. It wasn't a mine or a rock quarry, but a campus and no one
could tell how long it might take to graduate or to be trained or
A convoy of British merchant ships reached the port Archangel Russia,
with war supplies for the embattled Russians. The crew relieved after a
harrowing trip through North Atlantic storms and past U boats threw the
mooring line on the dock and a crewman yelled, "Three cheers for our
Russian Allies!" The men on the dock didn't move or make a sound but
stared back emotionless. The angry British seaman yelled back, "All
right then, to hell with you bloody bastards" when a Russian translator
whispered under his breath, "They're prisoners, they have no right to
answer you." The sailor looked back and replied, "In that case then,
you're all still bloody bastards."
The sailor grasped the difference, they weren't prisoners they were
slaves and he was fighting a war for freedom. But we won that war didn't
we, the Nazi and Japanese war machines were smashed and even the
Soviets fell. Let freedom ring, no more would slaves make goods under
harsh conditions, compelled to work at whatever or where ever they're
told for little or no wages.
In America we have Sam's club, but not the one you're thinking of this
Sam's club is Uncle Sam's club and you get to be a member by being
convicted of a Federal crime. Unicor is a government corporation of
Federal Prison industries whose purpose is to train and educate
prisoners and fight recidivism. This is not the old convict chain gang,
cutting grass, picking up trash or making license plates.
This is a high tech operation with over 20,000 employees/ prisoners
producing thousands of products at over fifty locations. Their motto is,
"When Prisoners Work the System Works" Yes indeed, the system does
work, "Work Makes Free." Need furniture or shelving? How about linens?
Document storage and retrieval got you down? Need a new handbook or
manual written? How about eyeglasses? How about advanced electronics or
wiring harnesses. Unicor can provide it all and I swear they said it,
they offer, "an escape proof guarantee!"
I'm sorry, by law Unicor may only sell its products to Federal
departments, agencies, government institutions, and their authorized
contractors or representatives. Hmmm, authorized contractors or
representatives. I wonder who that would be? General Dynamics? Sure!
Lockheed Martin? Why not! Haliburton? Of course! They are after all,
government contractors and when Haliburton builds a rec room in Doha,
guess who makes the furniture and the kitchen fixtures and the table
cloths and the plastic food trays and the cups and even the plastic
ware, that's right federal prisoners.
Remember all those nasty stories about Werner Von Braun and slaves being
forced to build V2 rockets? Take three guesses who builds wiring
harnesses for the Patriot missile systems. Say, are you setting up a new
government in a far away land and need office furniture? That's right
Unicor can help. Are you setting up a new Army and in need of Uniforms
and Helmets? Body armor, body armor, body armor have we got body armor
and we can ship from our Yazoo City Mississippi location in 30 days or
less. Unicor is a veritable mall of savings. But Unicor, how can you
keep prices so low? We use virtual slave labor and pass the savings on
Unicor wages start at .23 cents an hour and with the right work ethic
and persistence our prison laborer can work his way up to almost $1.15
per hour! But wait! We don't actually pay them that! Don't be silly, we
give them only a fraction of that amount to spend at the canteen. You
see when prisoners work, the system works and the system also runs the
canteen. Now, lets say our prisoner owes a $5000 Federal fine at .23
cents per hour, working eight hour days with no vacations, he can pay
off that debt in just seven and a half years. But wait, say he owes
$200.00 a month in child support, so Unicor takes his months pay of
$36.80 and applies that towards his child support and the worker/slave
is only in the hole to the tune of $163.00 a month, plus his Federal
A slave that owes money for every month he works, so why bother? "Arbeit
macht frei" You want a parole don't you? You want to get out of here
some day, don't you? Well they certainly don't give parole to those who
refuse to work, now do they? Besides with hard work you might work your
way up to that top wage of $188 dollars a month, less child support,
fines and taxes of course.
What excuse could a government of a free country use to explain away
using slave labor? Why what else, good government! You see every dollar
spent with Unicor, they claim eliminates $6.51 in law enforcement, court
costs and recidivism, plus we teach prisoners a trade. Of course, they
neglect to mention that every dollar spent with Unicor is a dollar taken
out of the civilian economy and from civilian employers, you know,
those people who pay real wages who must now compete with slave labor.
But wait, we also have cooperative ventures where private companies work
with Unicor. To provide you with the best in slave labor industries!
Amerimac/ Unicor Ltd. Provides promotional items and yes even the famous
license plates (sorry, no letter openers or pocket knives). But not the
license plates with numbers on them, only the novelty plates like. "I
make a fortune using slave laborers, ask me how?" How about signs and
badges? Unicor in conjunction with 2/90 signs can bring you a wide
assortment of designs and colors.
From their website 2/90 signs claims, "OUR PEOPLE are our biggest asset,
because without skilled and dedicated employees any company's product
quality and level of service is compromised. The vast majority of people
at 2/90 have more that seven years experience with the company, and
many individuals have 15 to 30 years tenure." I imagine some have 15
years to life.
But what about outsourcing? Unicor can help! What if I've just moved my
factory overseas? Then let Unicor help you set up a call center! After
all, that's why we advertise ourselves as the best kept secret in
outsourcing, "With more fulfillment work going outside the U.S.A., it
might be time for you to team up with Unicor / Federal Prison
Industries" Be it direct mail services, Inventory Management, Product
order fulfillment, Warehousing Distribution management Unicor can handle
Reverse Logistics and Distribution Outsourcing, Assembly and packaging,
repackaging, sorting services, pick/pack operations and inventory
management. Sam's club is here for you! All our manufactured goods are
proudly made in the USA. (God Bless America)
In its mission statement, The Federal Prison industries calls to employ
and provide skills training to the greatest practicable number of
inmates confined within Federal Bureau of Prisons and contribute to the
safety and security of our Nation's correctional facilities by keeping
inmates constructively occupied; to produce market-price quality goods
for sale to the Federal Government; to operate in a self-sustaining
manner; and minimize FPI's impact on private business and labor.
Inmate workers 21,205
Percent of eligible inmate population employed 18%
Employment goal 25%
Distribution of FPI's revenues
Staff salaries 18%
Inmate salaries 5%
Purchase of materials and supplies from vendors and other general and administrative expenses 77%
Total assets $730,776* 2006 up from $ 622,906 * 2005 *Dollars in thousands
Gross profit $75,137,000.
Or "Work Makes Free".