Regime to Announce Obama's Slave Labor Program
August 23, 2011 • 2:05PM

It doesn't meet union wage standards. It doesn't meet government-mandated "prevailing wage" standards, nor even minimum wage. It's NeroWork$, one of the jobs mirages the Regime means to rub into the face of the nation after Labor Day.

The unpaid labor program is modeled on Georgia Work$, a peculiar institution that's making James Oglethorpe roll in his grave. It has been in place since 2003. Under the guise of "training," long-term unemployed get a stipend of about $100 a week to cover transportation and child care for about six weeks, while they continue to collect unemployment, and "audition" in the private sector—at no cost to the employer. Even the Wall Street Journal had to admit, "Another concern is that programs such as Georgia Works may amount to free labor for employers, who could cycle through jobless participants without helping them at all." Or as Nero lied in Atkinson, Ill. last week, "You're essentially earning a salary, and getting your foot in the door into that company." (It wasn't only this lie that gave Nero a match for his lowest Rasmussen Presidential Approval Index today—a -24.)

Once the "training" period is up, the employer has no obligation to put the "trainee" on the payroll.

"It's tricky business—what they're doing—because they are violating wage and hour laws, because they are sending folks to employers who are not paying minimum wage. You can call it what you want, but the law is clear," said Maurice Emsellem, policy co-director at the National Employment Law Center. "And unemployment benefits can only be provided to unemployed workers, not to workers who are employed by a private-sector employer that is benefitting 100 percent," he told McClatchy news service.

National Employment Law Project deputy director Andrew Stettner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "We reviewed Georgia Work$. It looks more like work than training.... You can't try someone out and not pay them. It's not allowed under our nation's labor laws." He added, "If a lot of businesses can bring in a lot of people essentially working for free, somebody else [working full-time] isn't getting an extra shift or extra work hours."

But Michael Thurmond, the Georgia Labor Commissioner on whose watch the slave labor program was initiated, says, "It's about leveraging existing resources.... We have huge budget deficits in Washington, and states are struggling. The only logical strategy is to utilize existing resources"—the millions of desperate unemployed.