ACSOL’s Conference Calls

Conference Call Recordings Online
Dial-in number: 1-712-770-8055, Conference Code: 983459

Monthly Meetings | Recordings (09/17 Recording Uploaded)
Emotional Support Group Meetings

ACSOL Conference Oct 1, 2022 

Good News!National

Food Brands Fight the Background Check

Source: 9/14/21

A growing number of bakeries, restaurants, and ice cream companies are leading the charge to employ the formerly incarcerated.

“It’s the same work I was used to in prison, but the difference is that, in prison, I was working for 10 cents a day.” Alvin Wilson is a 66-year-old baker. Living in New York’s Westchester County with his sister, he’s spent the last seven years mixing brownie batter ingredients and packing the baked result at Greyston Bakery, the organization whose brownies can be found in your favorite scoop of Ben & Jerry’s, from Chocolate Fudge Brownie to Brownie Batter Core. Greyston was founded in 1982 as an “incubator for open hiring,” says the company’s CEO, Joseph Kenner. Open hiring, second-chance employment, and “Ban the Box” activism are company practices that both eliminate background checks and actively recruit formerly incarcerated individuals, who are often up against stigma and discrimination while searching for jobs.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 75 percent of returning citizens are still unemployed a year after their release, and a 2021 report by the US Chamber of Commerce says that having a criminal record reduces employment callback rates by 50 percent for white men and 65 percent for Black men. “A lot of doors are closed for formerly incarcerated people such as myself,” shares Mickey Wilkerson, who, after spending only three weeks incarcerated on New York’s Rikers Island, had to put months of initiative (and patience) into getting her driver’s license authorized—much less establishing full-time employment. The irony in Wilkerson’s story, and that of many others, is what Alvin Wilson alludes to when mentioning his horrifying paycheck while behind bars: big-time food corporations have been leaning on incarcerated labor for decades as part of their supply chain. Yet once released, these same individuals are labeled as anything from a threat to the work environment to an unreliable employee, based on archaic, racist stereotypes.

The argument for open or second-chance hiring is first and foremost for companies to respond to this pool of potential workers, made up of Wilkerson and her compatriots, which is too often overlooked. Kenner, Greyston’s CEO, argues that, particularly for an industry with razor-thin margins—which is also currently plagued with one of the greatest labor crunches in a generation—business can thrive when you incorporate open hiring. “Our partners are seeing their time to hire go from an average of 30 days to five or seven,” he shares. “Right off the bat, the time, money, and resources that go into excluding people through background checks, résumé requirements, and interviews are reallocated to better wages and keeping people.”

Read the full article


We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...  
  1. Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  2. Please keep the tone of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  3. Swear words should be starred out such as f*k and s*t
  4. Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  5. Please refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  6. Please take personal conversations off this forum.
  7. We will not publish any comments advocating for violent or any illegal action.
  8. We cannot connect participants privately - feel free to leave your contact info here. You may want to create a new / free, readily available email address.
  9. Please refrain from copying and pasting repetitive and lengthy amounts of text.
  10. Please do not post in all Caps.
  11. If you wish to link to a serious and relevant media article, legitimate advocacy group or other pertinent web site / document, please provide the full link. No abbreviated / obfuscated links.
  12. We suggest to compose lengthy comments in a desktop text editor and copy and paste them into the comment form
  13. We will not publish any posts containing any names not mentioned in the original article.
  14. Please choose a short user name that does not contain links to other web sites or identify real people
  15. Please do not solicit funds
  16. If you use any abbreviation such as Failure To Register (FTR), or any others, the first time you use it please expand it for new people to better understand.
  17. All commenters are required to provide a real email address where we can contact them.  It will not be displayed on the site.
  18. Please send any input regarding moderation or other website issues via email to moderator [at] all4consolaws [dot] org
ACSOL, including but not limited to its board members and agents, does not provide legal advice on this website.  In addition, ACSOL warns that those who provide comments on this website may or may not be legal professionals on whose advice one can reasonably rely.  
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x