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Just came across this today, so I thought I'd share. I'm no expert, but there's some background beyond the squiggle:

From the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, 2/4/14 (my emphasis):

Disability Orgs Call on President to Include Workers with Disabilities in Executive Order

This morning, the Collaboration for the Promotion of Self Determination, a coalition of twenty one progressive disability rights groups on whose board the Autistic Self Advocacy Network serves, sent the following letter to the White House and the Department of Labor. CPSD’s members were also joined by a number of broader civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Japanese American Citizens League and the Service Employees International Union.

As national partners of the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD), we were pleased to read that you will soon be issuing an executive order to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers. At the same time, we are profoundly concerned by recent statements suggesting that workers with disabilities employed by government contractors with 14c certificates will not be covered by the new $10.10 minimum wage....

As you know, many workers with disabilities are employed by government contractors, particularly those associated with the AbilityOne Commission. Government contractors who hold 14c certificates from the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division have been permitted to pay less than minimum wage to workers with disabilities. We believe that all Americans should be afforded minimum wage protections, including those workers with disabilities.

Recent statements from the administration have suggested that employees with disabilities working for federal contractors with 14c certificates will be excluded from the new $10.10/hour minimum wage and will only benefit to a minimal degree in so far as their subminimum wage compensation will now be calculated as a portion of the higher minimum wage required by the executive order. We believe this is fundamentally unjust.

Mr. President and Secretary Perez, all employees of federal contractors should mean all employees, regardless of disability status.

(read the rest of this open letter, plus a lengthy list of signers, here.)

Change To Win posted a Statement In Support today (2/7/14):

Workers with disabilities deserve the same protections as workers without disabilities. That is why Change to Win and the Good Jobs Nation campaign are proud to urge President Obama and Secretary Perez to include workers with disabilities in their forthcoming landmark executive order requiring a $10.10/hour minimum wage for employees of federal contractors. Change to Win is proud to stand with all low wage workers fighting to improve their circumstances.  As the White House and Department of Labor work to prepare the details of the executive order, we wish to strongly state our support for the full inclusion of workers with disabilities, including those today being paid drastically less than minimum wage, in the executive order.

Today, 420,000 workers with disabilities are paid less than minimum wage under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many of these workers are being employed under federal contracts.

According to the Government Accountability Office, more than half of all 14(c) workers make $2.50/hour or less. As Secretary Perez commented this week on the Diane Rehm Show, Section 14(c) is “a provision of law which has worked to the detriment of people with disabilities.”

...Workers with disabilities have shown time and time again that they are as capable and as worthy of contributing to our workforce as any other American. It is our sincere hope that the President’s forthcoming landmark executive order will reflect that principle.

(Read the rest (and other related posts) here.)

And finally, today's post on ASAN's tumblr which tweet linked to:

URGENT Action Alert: Contact the White House and Department of Labor

Our letter urging President Obama and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to include federal contractors with disabilities who make less than minimum wage in the President’s forthcoming $10.10/hour minimum wage executive order has gained momentum. We’ve been joined by labor groups, like AFL-CIO, SEIU and Change to Win, as well as a broad array of disability and civil rights organizations, such as the ACLU, the Collaboration for the Promotion of Self-Determination, the National Down Syndrome Congress, and many others representing people with disabilities, our families, and the providers that serve us. Unfortunately, lobbyists for the sheltered workshop industry are now mobilizing to try and exclude people with disabilities from President Obama’s forthcoming executive order and the $10.10/hour minimum wage protections it will bring employees of government contractors

As the sheltered workshop lobby begins to push back against the turning tide, we must make sure that our voices are louder.Now, more than ever, it is important for self-advocates, our families, and providers who want to see disabled people have equality of opportunity write emails to the White House and the Secretary of Labor.

Read more, including sample points, here. And those email addresses are:
In your emails to the White House, please contact:
Claudia Gordon ( and  ”cc”:
Valerie Jarrett (
Portia Wu (

In your emails to the Department of Labor, please contact:
Matthew Colangelo (   and “cc”
ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez (

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm out of practice with this diary thing. (18+ / 0-)

    Probably should dig up some more background, too. Oh well.

    I know that you who hear my singing make those freedom bells go ringing. And so we keep on while we live, until we have no more to give... Don't you know it's darkest before the dawn. This thought keeps me moving on. Pete Seeger

    by TiaRachel on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:47:57 PM PST

  •  How will this not drive contractors to hire (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    those with no disabilities at the expense of those with disabilities?  Why hire folks that have disabilities that diminish their productivity when you can get those without disability for the same wages?  

    If I comply with non-compliance am I complying?

    by thestructureguy on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:34:34 PM PST

    •  Hiring those with disabiities (8+ / 0-)

      does not necessarily diminish productivity. Sometimes a person with a disability is the best person for the job. Employers will often receive financial benefits.

      A person with autism has tremendous focus, work ethic and attention to detail. A person who is blind offers absolute confidentiality in destroying records. "disabilities" can cover a wide range and may not hurt their productivity if they are properly placed.

      With an 80% unemployment rate, these people are very eager to work to lift themselves out of poverty.

      And then there is just common decency to give someone a chance to show what they can do. They want to work.

      Most people who have worked with persons with a disability have described it as a positive experience.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:08:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Section 14c only applies to those indivduals (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        doc2, kyril, Sparhawk

        that have disabilities that diminish productivity. Not arguing they shouldn't benefit from the increase just asking why a contractor would hire a 14c employee if they can get more productivity out of a worker without a disability for the same pay.

        If I comply with non-compliance am I complying?

        by thestructureguy on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:24:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  this is why the push for better wages (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WakeUpNeo, thestructureguy

          We are trying to close an exploitation loophole for abuse of a protected class of people.

          It is not about disability vs non disability productivity.

          wage abuse is very common among the disabled.

          It isn't the person with an impairment that is at fault.

          It is the employers ignorance and refusal to accommodate that is at issue.

          reason for hiring them is to be an inclusive community that is tolerant to all.  and to not exclude people from participating in meaningful gainful employment due to their uniqueness.

          I know before I became officially permanently disabled I was the highest paid line worker for heat and glo on our line.  I had 3 significant impairments.    I started the job at a lower income level than the normal starting wage because of said impairments.      Once I corrected them of their ignorance My wage jumped to the top.

          Most employers won't do that, in regards to wages when it comes to people with impairments. Doesn't matter how hard we work.

          You also have to consider that the cost of living for these people is much higher than a non disabled so it is a double wammy when it comes to taking care of themselves.

          The higher cost of living is not our fault either its industry taking advantage of our situations by pricing services based not on the value of the service rendered  but on the quality of life improvement.    like 1 hearing aid costing $1500 starting for moderate to severe hearing loss, when you have fundamentally the same tech in a $150 smart phone. and smart phone does a lot more.

          The sub minimum wage was established because employers in general absolutely refused to hire having to pay minimum wage.

          Note I believe there was NO mention of increasing the 14c workers all the way up to the minimum 10 or so dollars.

          I believe they were hoping more along the line of the old minimum wage  like $5-7ish as a realistic goal that might be tolerated by the employers before they bulked and refuse to hire period.

          •  I don't disagree with anything you said. However, (0+ / 0-)

            the Executive order supposedly does not include 14c employees.  There is a calculation based on the minimum wage I've read so there will be a boost but not equal.  My question remains though that if all employees are included in the raise why would an employer hire a person with a disability that diminishes productivity. For that matter the increased productivity of a non-disabled employee may be enough to offset the wage difference.  Not talking about disabilities that by law should be accommodated.

            One of the purposes of 14c was to prevent curtailment of employment for employees with disabilities related to productivity.  An employer without any other incentives will likely not hire a disabled person under 14c and choose a non-disabled person.  

            If I comply with non-compliance am I complying?

            by thestructureguy on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:35:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  This part: (5+ / 0-)
        these people are very eager to work to lift themselves out of poverty.
        So eager to work that they'll work for wages which don't come anywhere near lifting them out of poverty -- so they're still reliant on (mostly) gov't programs.

        It's like any other (sub)minimum wage situation -- allowing employers to pay such tiny wages ends up just being a subsidy for the most dehumanizing corporations (think Walmart).  

        I know that you who hear my singing make those freedom bells go ringing. And so we keep on while we live, until we have no more to give... Don't you know it's darkest before the dawn. This thought keeps me moving on. Pete Seeger

        by TiaRachel on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:26:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This might be a useful place to mention that, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          since the federal Treasury is the source of all our currency, it is entirely appropriate for the federal government to determine how that currency is used, by whom and under what conditions it is to be regularly returned, so that it can be efficiently use again (recycling).

          "Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's" was correct two thousand years ago and is correct now.
          Perhaps it was the illusion that currency belongs to the people who use it which led some 19 countries in Europe to surrender their own currency and adopt the privately issued euro. Now they're discovering what it's like to rely on the equivalent of Green Stamps. Switzerland and Britain were wise not to join. The euro zone didn't get rid of the money changers, they put them in charge of the currency.

          by hannah on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:40:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  ? (5+ / 0-)

      "We believe that all Americans should be afforded minimum wage protections, including those workers with disabilities."

      The assumption that these disabilities 'diminish productivity' is not in the least justified. People with disabilities can (and do) make as good or better employees as those without -- it just requires treating people as people, rather than interchangeable worker-cogs. Inaccurate presumptions & prejudices, along with the 'corporate $ is king' mentality,  has created a low-wage worker pool trapped into working for these sub-minimum wages (something like the situation with prison labor), which keeps an already impoverished community poor & reliant on gov't 'safety nets'. Similarities to gov't subsidization of Walmart (etc) come to mind, too.

      There are all sorts of ways to promote hiring/discourage discrimination, other than letting federal contractors pay $2.50/hour (or less) as compared to $10.10.

      I know that you who hear my singing make those freedom bells go ringing. And so we keep on while we live, until we have no more to give... Don't you know it's darkest before the dawn. This thought keeps me moving on. Pete Seeger

      by TiaRachel on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:14:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Section 14c only applies to those indivduals (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, WakeUpNeo

        that have disabilities that diminish productivity. Not arguing they shouldn't benefit from the increase just asking why a contractor would hire a 14c employee if they can get more productivity out of a worker without a disability for the same pay.

        If I comply with non-compliance am I complying?

        by thestructureguy on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:22:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  raising min wage without raising disability wage (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is a passive Euthanasia policy, among hundreds, With a goal of getting rid of undesirables who are deemed to be unfit to participate in society.

        The idea of this kind of policy is to make it so the disabled can not take care of themselves or get the life sustaining care they need to stay alive, healthy and productive. which then causes them to die from their impairments.

        I am thinking about writing a book titled

        "Policy based passive euthanasia"
                 Musings of an imbecile

        If your not on the receiving end of these devastating policies and/ or your unaware of the history of Euthanasia of the impaired

        your going to have real problem with this post due to either ignorance, prejudices, or being a member of the group pushing these policies due to belief that you should not have to care for someone you do not know regardless of the reason that someone is in the situation that they need help to survive.

        •  That would be an interesting book... (0+ / 0-)

          although am not yet convinced the adjective "passive" applies as much as it might have even a few short years ago --- it seems some recent policy changes from the right are much more "active" as they continue to shred our meager safety nets.

          Think "Useless Eaters"?

    •  First of all, everybody's got some disability, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, WakeUpNeo, Bluerall

      since nobody's perfect.
      Secondly, we've got to get over the notion that wages are "deserved." That frame perpetuates the fiction that the object of an action is the cause. Wages are an obligation. Specifically, wages are an employer's obligation, what he owes in exchange for another human being having subordinated himself and agreed to do what he's told. To call pay a desert or a bribe is to imply that subordination is an intrinsic good and, conversely, that the independent agent is not.
      When all human beings have free access to the necessities of life, like the lilies of the field, then remuneration is lagniappe, something over and above. But, in a society which agrees to the exclusive use of the natural environment by extending property rights, there is an obligation to compensate those who are shut out by the process. The U.S. is, as Dubya pronounced, an "ownership society." What he left out is that ownership comes with an obligation to share the products of what is owned. Ownership without obligation is predation.

      Segregation and discrimination are natural impulses and difficult to counter. So, we have to be constantly alert that they don't rise up to target one human population or other.

      by hannah on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:31:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like some of the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hannah, WakeUpNeo

        points you made. I would like to expand and say about worth.  
        What do both the disabled and non disabled give the employer That once given to the employer can not be taken back?

        "Time", which there is only so much of.

        What I think we need to do is come up with a system of payment  for time given to the employer, that is guaranteed exchanged for a living allowance.   Then you add a productivity factor of exchange that goes above and beyond the living allowance  which is based on the productivity of the worker.

        The living allowance is set by the government for per hour basis of time given.

        Then the productivity is between the worker and employer to decide.

        example of how it could work:

        The living allowance is decided based on the cost of living for "just necessities". based on being disabled or non disabled. disabled with hearing loss is going to have cost of hearing. that is not part of some one who is not disabled cost of living for necessities.   (this part needs to be reasonable and the employee knows this number NOT the employer until after the employee is hired then the employer is shown a document that says their living allowance.   So employer can't say no based on a higher disability living allowance. the productivity side is where the negotiations can occur where the employer can recover some.)

        The point of all of this is to establish that everyone's "time" given to the employer is of the same worth. regardless of race, age, impairments, sex, preference, productivity, etc.  (think of it as an employers responsibility to their employees for the time rendered to them.)

        The productivity portion is where the bonus is established for level of work done based on productivity.

        similar to the minimum wage but not exactly.

        The point of separating "living allowance" from "productivity bonus" and "over time"  is to establish a base rule of understanding and obligation that an employer has to the worker. That an employer  can't go below the cost of living because the employee is giving the employer the most valuable commodity alive  "time"

        And the cost of living is figured by the government yearly like the COLA on the social security but factors in other things like cost of food energy etc.

        The employer has demonstrated time and time again their infinity to screw the workers. (this is where the living allowance comes in)

        Then the employers that believe in taking great care of the employee can add more by means of "productivity bonus"

        The standard minimum wage and overtime  to me does not really accurately reflects employer/ worker responsibility relationships.

        the people that will mostly object to my suggestion are those currently exploiting people under the current minimum and overtime rules.

  •  Can't help but wonder whether you might tweak (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight

    your title a bit --- perhaps using the phrase "even the disabled" in your title actually (inadvertantly) helps reinforce certain stereotypes about people with disabilities and might work against us (people with disabilities) and your very valid argument?

    Too many people are quick to form a particular picture in their minds when such a label is used to "classify" or pigeonhole individuals into an imagined group --- much as many in our society do when using phrases such as "the homeless" rather than say, "people without homes." Too often, the individual human beings so described (and their unique circumstances) are lost in the discussion, and too easily dismissed as "those people."

    One of the reasons that make abuses under Section 14c so ugly is the way it has been historically used to perpetuate a plantation mentality that highly rewards certain (non-disabled) contractors (e.g., Goodwill Industries execs with half-million dollar salaries) for actively taking advantage of people with disabilities trapped in slave-like working conditions, sometimes paid pennies in "sheltered workshops" or "work activity settings."

    People who wish to learn more about this might see this article, among others:

    Goodwill's Charity Racket: CEOs Earn Top-Dollar, Workers Paid Less Than Minimum Wage

    An American multi-national corporation, which accepts millions of dollars in government funds, pays its top executives more than half a million dollars per year in total compensation, while simultaneously paying some of its employees less than the federal minimum wage.

    Some employees earn just 22 cents per hour.

    And the entire racket is perfectly legal thanks to a Depression-era loophole in federal labor law. Is now a good time to mention that this corporation also doesn't pay any taxes?

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