Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today visited Traverse Bay Manufacturing in Elk Rapids to learn more about the business and to discuss the negative impacts that Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR, has on local job creation.
"It was great to visit Traverse Bay Manufacturing again today and meet with the hard working employees of this successful Northern Michigan business. Regrettably, this local job provider has been negatively impacted by UNICOR and faces the prospects of serious job losses. I want to protect jobs in Elk Rapids and across Northern Michigan from suffering due to unfair practices imposed by the federal government," said Dr. Benishek, a surgeon from Iron River.
Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR, is a government-owned corporation that uses federal prison labor and receives no-bid government contracts to manufacture 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.
"We need to end UNICOR's unfair advantage that is costing jobs in Northern Michigan. It makes no sense for the federal government to favor federal prisoners over hard working Michigan employees who have not been convicted of a crime. That's why I've supported bipartisan legislation that will end UNICOR's no bid contract status and allow our job providers like Traverse Bay Manufacturing to fairly compete," added Dr. Benishek.
Dr. Benishek has endorsed H.R. 3634, authored by Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02), which will eliminate UNICOR's no bid contract status and require UNICOR to submit a detailed analysis of the impact it will have on private sector employers before it enters a new product market.