Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today announced his support for H.R. 3634, a bill that will eliminate the no bid contract status of Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR. This government-owned corporation uses federal prison labor and receives no-bid government contracts to make goods and provide services. UNICOR's no bid or "mandatory sourcing" status denies local small businesses in Northern Michigan the opportunity to compete for the same contract.
"Sadly, UNICOR is costing hardworking people in Northern Michigan their jobs. Just recently, a company in Elk Rapids was impacted by UNICOR and it cost that area over 100 jobs. These types of job losses are devastating to Northern Michigan families and our local communities. With unemployment in Michigan at 9.4% and over 8% nationally, why is the federal government favoring prisoners over taxpaying citizens who haven't been convicted of a crime?" said Dr. Benishek, a general surgeon and Iron River native.
H.R. 3634, authored by Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02), requires UNICOR to submit a detailed analysis of the impact it will have on private sector employers before it enters a new product market.
"I am committed to ensuring jobs stay in Northern Michigan and are not lost to unfair business practices imposed by the federal government. I want to thank Congressman Huizenga for his leadership on this bipartisan effort to level the playing field and promote small business job creation in Michigan. His common sense legislation will end UNICOR's no bid contracts and force it to fairly compete with hard working businesses in Northern Michigan and across the country," added Dr. Benishek.