FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act
Urges Swift Passage of Legislation to Prevent Exploitation of Workers with Disabilities
Baltimore, Maryland (January 7, 2015): The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, today applauded the introduction of the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act of 2015 (H.R. 188) by Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS). Congressman Harper introduced this legislation to responsibly phase out the use of Special Wage Certificates under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), thereby facilitating the transitioning of people with disabilities now working in sheltered, segregated employment, sometimes for pennies per hour, to integrated employment positions paying competitive wages.
Congressman Gregg Harper said: “Section 14(c) of the FLSA, enacted out of ignorance regarding the true capacity of people with disabilities, currently prevents over three-hundred thousand people with disabilities from gaining access to the work and training environments that have been proven to be more cost effective and to produce more competitive integrated work outcomes. Segregated, subminimum-wage work is just an expression of low expectations that instills a false sense of incapacity in individuals who could become competitively employed with the proper training and support.”
Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind and our partners representing the 55 million Americans with disabilities fight every day to obtain the equality and respect in the workplace that nondisabled citizens take for granted. We applaud Congressman Harper for having the courage to confront over seventy years of entrenched but false thinking about the capacity of people with disabilities. We strongly urge his colleagues in both houses of the United States Congress to exhibit the same courage by recognizing that it is time to reject an antiquated and ineffective employment model for one that truly values workers with disabilities.”