Union Supply
Group Cares

Providing Quality Service to Wisconsin Correctional Institutions and Customers

Union Supply is proud to have been awarded a recent Department of Corrections contract for the Personal Property Package Program. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin State Legislature is reviewing a bill that would attempt to change the result of an independent and open bidding process. If successful, it would create chaos and set a dangerous precedent for any future RFP before the State.

This effort is anticompetitive, and going forward, any vendor with enough resources, lobbyists, and political sway could change the law in its favor – and supersede the procurement code, which is designed to ensure that public contracts are awarded to the vendor that is most responsible and offers the best value to the state and taxpayers.

Union Supply was selected by the State after presenting the best proposal and delivering the lowest cost and most innovative approach. We must respect the RFP process and this legally binding contract.

Please take a moment to fill out the form below to encourage our leaders in Madison to avoid playing political games.

Invested in Wisconsin

Learn the Truth

  • USG is a longtime, trusted vendor to the State of Wisconsin, having worked with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) since 2008. The relationship has provided quality service to both correctional institutions and the customers that rely on them.
  • USG was recently awarded the latest DOC bid for the Personal Property Package Program after an open procurement process that included several bidders. USG scored best across the Request for Proposal – including in categories for price, innovation, and logistics. USG had the lowest cost, best proposal, and provided all of DOC’s mandatory requirements.
  • USG received an Intent to Award on September 2, 2020, with the contract between USG and DOC fully executed on July 8, 2021. USG is actively fulfilling its obligations as part of the legally binding agreement.
  • Despite this, one company that lost the bid is now attempting to change the results and upend an independent and open bidding process. While failing to complete the RFP in its entirety, the losing company has now resorted to spreading false statements and mistruths to try and get their way.
  • If the efforts to pass a “redo” bill are successful, this weaponizing of the Legislature to overturn an open and transparent procurement process would corrupt the system and set a dangerous precedent for the future.
  • It’s important to have a clear understanding of the timeline of events surrounding USG being properly awarded the Personal Property Package Program contract:
    • The RFP was released on June 8, 2020.
      • It was clearly stated in the RFP that DOC wanted to go with one vendor. All
        vendors had not only the opportunity, but the obligation to protest the intent of
        the RFP before proposals were submitted – and none did.
    • The RFP Due Date was July 10, 2020.
    • The Intent to Award to USG was given on September 2, 2020 – later due to COVID.
    • The Anticipated Contract Implementation Period was August 2020-January 2021.
    • Protest received from JL Marcus on September 21, 2020.
    • DOC issued a Denial of Protest (JL Marcus) on October 14, 2020.
    • JL Marcus submitted an Appeal to that decision on October 21, 2020.
    • The Department of Administration denied the JL Marcus Appeal on January 27, 2021 – the
      second time that efforts to overturn the process were rejected.

The Facts

Doesn’t awarding the contract to a single vendor eliminate competition?


No. The award to Union Supply resulted from a competitive process known as a Request for Proposal. In July of 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) invited all prospective vendors to submit a proposal for the Personal Property package program, which included Property, Hobby and Religious items. The proposals were evaluated by an evaluation committee, and the contract was awarded to the vendor that offered the lowest cost, the best proposal, and provided all of the DOC’s mandatory requirements. During the RFP process, DOC made it clear they intended to award one vendor. Any prospective vendor that disagreed with the DOC’s stated intent was required to “protest” the RFP at that time so such issues could be resolved before a contract was awarded. No vendor filed a protest until after the contract was awarded to Union Supply.

Isn’t Union Supply an out of state company?


While Union Supply is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, they are proud to have a large presence in Wisconsin. This includes a warehouse in Menomonee Falls that employs over 80 individuals. Union Supply also purchases its warehouse supplies only from local suppliers, such as Midland Packaging and Paper Company, Environment Innovations, Salamone Suppliers, Ego Disposal, 48 Solutions, American Metal and Paper, Kurt Scholls Catering, and Alleys Bistro. Moreover, the purpose of competitive bidding is to award a contract to a responsible vendor that provides the best proposal to the agency in an environment that is transparent, open, and fair for all qualified vendors.

Doesn’t the DOC’s own regulations under Wisconsin Administrative Code § DOC 309.52(1)(d) require the DOC to award the Personal Property Package Program to multiple vendors?


No. Both the DOC and the Wisconsin Department of Administration have stated that Wisconsin Administrative Code DOC 309.52 applies to the DOC’s requirement to maintain a canteen, and the process that the administrative code imposes in the event the canteen does not carry approved personal property items. The statute does not apply to the Personal Property Package Program.

Won’t having only one vendor create a monopoly that gives the single vendor the freedom to raise prices?


No. Just as when the property program was provided by multiple vendors, the contract limits the contractor’s ability to raise prices, all price increases must be approved by the DOC.

How is Union Supply preventing contraband from coming in the prisons?


Union Supply uses a blind fill process, which ensures the people who pack the orders have no idea which PIOC is receiving the package. Union Supply has also worked with the DOC to eliminate common carrier by expanding their fleet of trucks and driving staff to deliver the property and hobby orders. Union Supply worked closely with each facility to determine a schedule that best met their needs. With eliminating common carrier, the facility staff now know If the package doesn’t arrive securely on a Union Supply truck with logo’d boxes and security tape, it’s not from Union Supply.

How will Union Supply make sure they have enough stock to cover demand?


Union Supply has worked closely with all their vendors to place large purchase orders up to 6 months in advance to ensure inventory is on hand and always coming in. Union Supply offers multiple varieties of items are different brands and price points to meet customers’ needs.

About Us

Union Supply Group was founded by Tom Thomas in 1991. With humble beginnings that started out of the trunk of his car has grown into an operation that serves correctional institutions nationwide, all while maintaining the same dedication to service and quality that Tom envisioned. USG offers more than 12,000 items in secure, correctional-appropriate designs to meet the safety and security needs of the correctional industry. The company maintains nearly 1,000,000 square feet of warehouse space at distribution centers near major transportation hubs in Wisconsin, Ohio, Nevada, Texas, and Florida. USG fills orders accurately, completely, and on time – and prides itself on same day shipping on all orders.

Through the company’s reentry initiatives, USG also employs work release offenders at its distribution centers (including in Wisconsin), and operates 16 offender work programs in joint partnership with the state correctional industries in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, and Washington, for the purpose of providing offenders with marketable job skills to help them find gainful employment upon release.

The Union Supply Difference:
More Efficient and More Effective

Union Supply stands alone in its league as a trusted and reliable partner for the correctional industry, and we’re continually enhancing our operations to create efficiencies that save time and ensure safety. Efforts that make Union Supply the most efficient and effective operation include:

Eliminating reliance on common carriers (i.e., UPS and FedEx) to remove contraband risk and fake packages being sent to correctional institutions.

Creating the Partner Portal, which is an order research and investigation tool that helps identify abuse and system cracks. The Partner Portal saves staff time to allocate to more critical posts that focus on the safety and security of staff and PIOCs.

Increasing staff nationwide, expanding the call center, and reducing the wait time to less than 2 minutes.

Expanding facility support by providing live chat and help desk features, providing real-time interaction and eliminating the need for phone calls and emails.

DOC 237 Property Receipts are now pre-populated, another way to save staff time that can be allocated to more critical posts that focus on the safety and security of staff and PIOCs.

Ordering by phone will be implemented once DOC is ready, which will come close to eliminating paper ordering and manually cutting of checks, yet another way to save critical staff time.

USG doesn’t run a storefront (in fact, Wisconsin DOC was not interested in a storefront) for safety reasons as they are a way for contraband to slip into correctional facilities.

To safely accommodate all customers, individuals can place their orders via telephone and then mail a money order or personal check. USG has several methods for contacting its team to help accommodate all customers as easily as possible