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Dell abandons hi-tech chain gangs

Recycling labor

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Deciding that robots are cheaper than felons, Dell Computer is to sever its contract with the US prison labor program. Dell was one of several IT companies to employ Federal Prison Industries, Inc., or UNICOR in a widely-criticized recycling scheme.

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition had criticized Dell's use of prison labor in its recycling program for exposing inmates to dangerous chemicals.

UNICOR, a Microsoft case study, was established in the New Deal, and offers customers an "Escape-Proof Guarantee".

The decision confirms that the PC giant is sensitive to ethical issues. In March Dell withdrew advertising from slots on an MSNBC cable show that fronted by deranged hate radio "personality" Michael Savage. ®

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