What are ten reasons why prisoners should not be allowed to form unions?

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1). Prisoners aren't employees, even though they may be compelled to work as part of their punishment;

2). Prisoners have no contract of employment with the prison authorities, so they enjoy no legally enforceable rights;

3). If prisoners are given the right to organize, then it can be abused to serve their own criminal ends;

4). Being part of a labor union means having the right to strike. But what would happen if prisoners went on strike? Surely, the consequences would be catastrophic;

5). If prisoners went on strike then it would arguably undermine the authority of the warden and the prison staff;

6). Militant prisoners, whether animated by anger at prison conditions or stirred up by demands for more workers' rights, are a potential danger to the stability and good order of any penal institution. Allowing prisoners to form labor unions would only increase such dangers;

7). Prisoners are not entitled to enjoy the same rights as workers on the outside. They forfeited those rights the moment they committed their crimes. It would be insulting to honest, hard-working people to have criminals placed on the same level as themselves;

8). If prisoners are allowed to form unions that means politicians will be more likely to pander to their interests, thus putting themselves at odds with law-abiding citizens;

9). Allowing prisoners to join labor unions would divert attention from what really matters: the low level of union membership among ordinary American workers. The United States has one of the lowest rates of unionized workers in the industrialized West. If that is to change then it's necessary to focus on workers rather than prisoners;

10). Finally, labor unions would allow prisoners to develop collective economic interests which would make them more powerful in relation to the prison authorities and to society as a whole. It is not immediately apparent how the development of such a collective voice will be of benefit to anyone but prisoners. In order to maintain control over prisoners, it's necessary for the authorities to keep them divided to some extent. Allowing them to join labor unions would seriously undermine that goal.

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