All workers deserve licenses
The April 1 Militant article “New York Protests Demand Gov’t Give Immigrants Driver’s Licenses” was timely. This is an important fight along the road to uniting all workers in this country.
You also mentioned that this was part of a larger fight to prevent the government from victimizing workers by taking away or denying us driver’s licenses. Here in Virginia, the state can take away a person’s driver’s license for nonpayment of any government or court-ordered fine or fee. In a rural state like Virginia, this often leads to workers either losing their job, or driving without a valid license, which can result in real jail time if caught.
In 2018 nearly 1 million Virginians — 1 out of every 6 of the state’s drivers — had lost their licenses due to failure to pay court debts, in many cases resulting from misdemeanor offenses. These court costs have become a major source of funding for state governments like Virginia.
Prison system is a business
The Florida Department of Corrections never refunded our money [after prisoners lost all the music they purchased when officials switched vendors for mp3 players]. Each song costs us $1.70 and some of us have over 1,000 songs. Do the math! If I had known they were going to do this, I would never have spent my family’s hard earned money on it!
The Department of Corrections is more than just a prison system, it’s a business. Every job is done by an inmate from plumbing and welding to cooking and laundry.
They refuse to pay us for our labor. Without us they wouldn’t be able to run the institutions.
They price gouge us on canteen items, charging two to three times more than the local stores. They charge us to put money on our accounts, then charge us a fee to spend our money.
The prison system here is a warehouse operated for profit and each inmate is just another item placed up on the shelf.