END UW System's prison labor contract with Badger State Industries

END UW System's prison labor contract with Badger State Industries

July 2, 2020
Petition to
University of Wisconsin System and
Signatures: 4,184Next Goal: 5,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Isabelle Martinez

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as the rest of the schools in the University of Wisconsin System, are currently in a contract to purchase school/office furniture from Badger State Industries (BSI) - a corporation that sells products created from prison labor. 

The corresponding legislation delineates the requirements as follows:

Wisconsin Statute 16.75 (3t)(c) defines that “The department of corrections shall periodically provide to the department of administration a current list of all materials, supplies, equipment or contractual services, excluding commodities, that are supplied by prison industries.… The department of administration shall distribute the list to all designated purchasing agents under s. 16.71 (1).”

s. 16.71 (1) delineates the purchasing powers, stating, “...the department shall purchase and may delegate to special designated agents the authority to purchase all necessary materials, supplies, equipment, and all other permanent personal property and miscellaneous capital, and contractual services and all other expenses of a consumable nature for all agencies.”

s. 16.71 (1m) designates that “...the department shall not delegate to any executive branch agency, other than the board of regents of the University of Wisconsin System....The department may delegate this authority to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.”

Prison labor is normalized, modern day slavery; it disproportionately exploits Black lives in unsafe working environments, with negligible wages. As an alumna of UW-Madison, it is sickening that I attended a university that normalizes this. 

It is not enough for the University of Wisconsin System to demonstrate optical allyship with the BIPOC community by means of posting on social media, tokenizing students of color, and providing resources for students and alumni to combat racism on an individual level. Deconstructing the systems that uphold racial inequities is crucial to progressing as a school system, as a state, and ultimately, as a nation. Together, we will make that clear to Gov. Tony Evers, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, UW System President Tommy Thompson, and the UW System Board of Regents. 








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Signatures: 4,184Next Goal: 5,000
Support now