FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Former New York Governor David Paterson
Comments on Subminimum Wages
for Disabled Workers
New York City, New York (July 25, 2011): In advance of planned protests by the National Federation of the Blind against the payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities and the proposed Workforce Investment Act, Former New York State Governor David A. Paterson, a member of and consultant to the National Federation of the Blind, said: “On the eve of the twenty-first anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is more than appropriate that we call for the language that would reauthorize the practice of paying subminimum wages to Americans with disabilities to be stricken from the Workforce Investment Act. We have progressed so far as a nation since 1938, when the original Fair Labor Standards Act denied people with disabilities the workforce protection of a federal minimum wage. Today, we recognize our neighbors’ different religions, different ethnicities, and different backgrounds and embrace the fact that these differences don’t justify discrimination. On August 3, when this legislation is scheduled to be considered by the members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, they should strike the language from the bill that discriminates against Americans with disabilities and ensure that there is equal pay for equal work.”
The National Federation of the Blind has announced that its members, along with other organizations of Americans with disabilities, will be conducting informational protests across the United States to raise awareness about the practice of paying wages below the federal minimum wage to disabled workers. The protests will take place on July 26, the twenty-first anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, at the primary district office locations of United States senators serving on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (the HELP Committee).
On August 3, the HELP committee is scheduled to vote on the Workforce Investment Act. Title V, Section 511 contains language reauthorizing the payment of wages below the federal minimum wage to people with disabilities.
For more information on the National Federation of the Blind and fair wages for workers with disabilities, please visit www.nfb.org.