Petition to Support Fair Wages
for Workers with Disabilities
We, the undersigned, are Americans with disabilities who are adversely affected by subminimum wage payments to workers with disabilities; representatives of organizations made up of, and working on behalf of, Americans with disabilities; friends and family members of individuals who have disabilities; and other concerned citizens who believe in fairness and equality. We all speak in support of the repeal of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which authorizes Special Wage Certificates that permit employers to pay workers with disabilities subminimum wages, some as low as 3 cents per hour.
We reject the low expectations for, the false view of the true capacity of, and the misguided compassion used to justify this discrimination against workers with disabilities. This provision has existed for over seventy years, and rather than creating real employment opportunities for workers with disabilities, it has relegated hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities to segregated, subminimum wage work environments, perpetuated the misconception that workers with disabilities do not have the capacity for productive employment, and masked the need for further development and implementation of innovative employment strategies for the competitive integrated employment of people with disabilities.
We all believe that the future prospects for workers with disabilities are limited only by the spirit, ambition, and imagination of Americans with disabilities, and by the willingness of society to expand and implement enlightened policies that will help them succeed. We adamantly assert that as long as workers with disabilities are denied the same workforce protections as every other American citizen, and the solution to the employment dilemma of workers with disabilities is thought to be their continued segregation in subminimum-wage work environments, our society will never truly implement the innovative employment strategies that empower workers with disabilities to fully participate in the workforce.
For these reasons, we, the undersigned, urge the repeal of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act in order to abolish the unfair, discriminatory, immoral practice of paying workers with disabilities subminimum wages; to reverse over seventy years of mistaken institutionalized thinking about the employment capacity of people with disabilities; and to incentivize the development, implementation, and use of innovative strategies for their competitive, integrated employment.