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Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day 2014 Note: End Subminimum Wages in Sheltered Workshops that employ Disabled!

as shared by Access Living (cil) in Chicago...

Dear Access Living friends and allies,
As we head into Labor Day weekend, we wanted to take the time to remind you that people with disabilities are still fighting against the practice of using sub-minimum wages to pay people with disabilities in segregated employment. Yesterday, several national disability organizations staged a protest in New York against the company SourceAmerica.
Here is a summary from John Pare of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB):
“Yesterday ADAPT, APSE, LPA, NCIL, NFB, and TASH conducted a very successful protest regarding SourceAmerica’s (formerly NISH) practice of paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage.
“Special thanks to NCIL and APSE for their terrific participation and inspiring remarks.
“On this Labor Day weekend, let’s pledge to redouble our effort to phase out and repeal section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This provision was wrong in 1938 and it is even more egregious today!
“With over 400,000 of our disabled brothers and sisters toiling away in sheltered subminimum wage employment, on this Labor Day, let’s remember that it is sadly no time to celebrate.
“SourceAmerica will undoubtedly launch a new wave of publicity to promote its programs, but no matter how much money it spends, subminimum wages will still be wrong.
“Yesterday, at our protest, the passion for high expectations, the demand for equality, and the call for fair wages were palpable.
“There is no place for subminimum wages in the lives of disabled Americans. We will live the lives we want. We will not stop our advocacy until all disabled Americans have the same wage protection as their non-disabled peers.”
We in Illinois are fortunate that Governor Quinn signed the Employment First Act to help make sure that people with disabilities are tracked into competitive, integrated employment FIRST before sheltered subminimum wage workshops. However, this is a national fight and one important way to help is to speak out if you or your family member is paid sub-minimum wage in sheltered workshops. Please see below my signature for a call from the NFB for people who are willing to speak out. The labor struggle will not be over until we right this injustice.
Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living
Disability Advocates:
The National Federation of the Blind is actively seeking individuals who are currently competitively employed, but who have worked in sheltered subminimum wage work environments in the past. If this has been your experience, we would greatly appreciate it if you would answer the following questions:
•                   What type of work did you perform for subminimum wages?
•                   What type of work do you do now?
•                   Is it competitive?
•                   Do you earn the federal minimum wage or more?
•                   What has changed in your life since you started earning the minimum wage or more?
•                   What is your opinion of the Presidential Executive Order to raise the minimum wage for federal service contract employees to $10.10 per hour?
•                   Would you be willing to speak to a reporter about your experience?
Please send your responses, along with your contact information, to cdanielsen@nfb.org as soon as possible. You may also respond by telephone by calling (410) 659-9314, extension 2330.
Thank you,
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations

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