“We didn’t know about this and we never would have allowed it if we had.”
Former NYC Mayor and current presidential hopeful, Mike Bloomberg, has come under fire for using prison labor to make campaign phone calls.
According to a report from The Intercept, Bloomberg’s campaign contracted ProCom, a Jersey-based call center company, to handle reachouts and donor targeting. However, two of ProCom’s call centers are based in Oklahoma prisons. And at least one of those facilities was directed to make calls on behalf of Bloomberg’s campaign, ending each call by disclosing the campaign’s payment for the call.
ProCom reportedly paid Oklahoma’s minimum wage ($7.25/hour) for the work of inmates, but according to state law, inmates are allowed to take home only $20 or $27.09 per month, depending on which policy is cited. The company’s founder, John Scallan, rebuked that ProCom did not cap the monthly salaries according to state and DoC documents, claiming the incarcerated workers make much more. “I can tell you unequivocally that is not us,” Scallan told The Intercept. He adds, “Some of them are making that much every day.”
After the report was published, Bloomberg’s team claims to have scrapped their contract with ProCom. Julie Wood, a rep for the campaign, noted, “We don’t believe in this practice and we’ve now ended our relationship with the subcontractor in question.”