[nfbmi-talk] Minimum Wages for all

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Sun Feb 12 22:34:56 CST 2012


And don't forget for one moment one and all that all groups facing people 
with all disabilities who are not lap dogs despise the pernicious practices 
tantamount to human and civil rights abysses. described herein.

Now I'll send another message after this from MCB sell out bob robertson him 
self which goes to the core of wage slavery in this century against the 
blind!
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Fred Wurtzel" <f.wurtzel at att.net>
To: "'NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List'" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:56 PM
Subject: [nfbmi-talk] Minimum Wages for all


> Hello,
>
>
>
> Why is it illegal to pay sub-minimum wages to sighted people or others
> without visible disabilities?  Why is it legal to pay little or no wages 
> to
> people with disabilities?  Why do Sheltered shop owners and managers paid
> six figure salaries to oversee people making a dollar or less per hour?
> Aren't you angry about this bigotry?
>
>
>
> Warmest Regards,
>
>
>
> Fred
>
>
>
> Braille Monitor
>
> August/September 2011
>
> (
>
> back
>
> ) (
>
> contents
>
> ) (
>
> next
>
> )
>
> No More Subminimum Wages: The Time Is Now!
>
> by Fredric K. Schroeder
>
> Fred Schroeder at the podium
>
> From the Editor: Friday morning, July 8,  NFB First Vice President and
> former Commissioner
>
> of the Rehabilitation Services  Administration Fred Schroeder keynoted an
> employment
>
> panel with a fiery speech  laying out the injustices of subminimum wages 
> for
> people
>
> with disabilities.  This is what he said:
>
> On Tuesday,  October 29, 1929 [Black Tuesday], an unprecedented freefall 
> in
> stock
>
> prices  rocked the United States  to its very foundation. Without warning
> the nation
>
> found itself in the grip of  an economic disaster, later to be known as 
> the
> Great
>
> Depression. Literally  overnight millions of Americans lost their life
> savings and
>
> millions more lost  their jobs. Unemployment rose to 25 percent, and no 
> one
> knew
>
> when or if the  economy would recover.
>
> From the  depths of unemployment, hunger, and despair, Americans looked to
> the 1932
>
> presidential election for a change in leadership, a change in direction, 
> and
> a  ray
>
> of hope. That year, in his Democratic presidential nomination acceptance
> speech,
>
> Franklin Roosevelt said, "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new  deal 
> for
> the American
>
> people." Thus began an aggressive series of reforms  to get America's
> economy back
>
> on track and its citizens back to work. But as desperately as  Americans
> needed jobs,
>
> they needed jobs that offered a living wage--what Roosevelt called, "a 
> fair
> day's
>
> pay for a fair day's  work." Accordingly President Roosevelt--as a
> centerpiece of
>
> the New  Deal--undertook sweeping reform of the nation's labor laws.
>
> In 1938 the  Congress adopted the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Act 
> included
> numerous
>
> reforms; however it is best remembered for establishing the federal 
> minimum
> wage.
>
> President Roosevelt characterized the Fair Labor Standards Act as "the 
> most
> far-reaching,
>
> far-sighted program for the benefit of workers ever adopted  in this or 
> any
> other
>
> country." But the minimum wage was not for everyone:  not for the blind 
> and
> not for
>
> others with disabilities. The 1938 Fair Labor  Standards Act permitted 
> blind
> workers
>
> and others with disabilities to be paid  less than the minimum wage, 
> meaning
> that
>
> for the blind and others there  continued to be no minimum at all.
>
> The Fair  Labor Standards Act, with its subminimum wage provision, 
> reflected
> society's
>
> beliefs and assumptions about the impact of disability on an individual's
> productivity.
>
> While others were guaranteed the minimum wage, people with  disabilities 
> had
> to prove
>
> their worth. That was the thinking in 1938, and,  given the attitudes of 
> the
> day,
>
> it is not surprising. What is surprising is  that today--seventy-three 
> years
> later--the
>
> law continues to countenance  subminimum wages for blind people and others
> with disabilities.
>
> But that must  end. As we call for in Resolution 2011-17, it is time to 
> pass
> the
>
> Fair Wages  for Workers with Disabilities Act. No more subminimum wages: 
> the
> time
>
> is now!
>
> Defenders  of the subminimum wage system argue that some people have such
> complex
>
> disabilities that they truly are incapable of working competitively. They
> say  that,
>
> in spite of their limited ability, they deserve the chance to be as
> productive as
>
> they can. And, we are told, the subminimum wage system enables  those
> individuals--people
>
> with the most significant disabilities--to work and  to be paid according 
> to
> their
>
> productivity. Besides, they say, no one is forced  to go to a sheltered
> workshop.
>
> It is an option, a choice-but is it really?
>
> Prior to  1938, with crushing unemployment, Americans were so desperate 
> for
> jobs
>
> that  they would work for essentially any wage under any conditions. They
> did not
>
> choose to send their children to work in factories. They did not choose to
> work
>
> in sweatshops. They did not choose poor wages and long hours. They did not
> choose
>
> unsafe working conditions. They had no choice. They had to take what they
> could
>
> get. The same is true for today's workers with disabilities.
>
> With a 70  percent unemployment rate, far too many people with 
> disabilities
> are faced
>
> with  the Hobson's choice of sheltered work or no work. As with the
> Depression era
>
> workers of the 1930s, today's workers with disabilities cannot simply walk
> away
>
> because there is nowhere else to go. They must work for any wage under any
> conditions
>
> or have no work at all. As we know, President Roosevelt contracted  polio 
> as
> a child
>
> and, as a result, had limited use of his legs. Ironically, had  he not 
> been
> born
>
> into wealth and privilege, he might well have ended up working  at a
> subminimum wage--paid
>
> according to someone's assessment of his  productivity--instead of 
> becoming
> president
>
> of the United States.
>
> The  question is not whether there are people with complex disabilities 
> that
> impair
>
> their productivity; the question is whether it is equitable and just to
> require
>
> people with disabilities to prove their worth and to do so by performing
> mind-numbing,
>
> repetitive work. People with disabilities are not given menial, 
> monotonous
> work
>
> because it is the only work they can do but because it is work  that fits
> society's
>
> low expectations. There is no justice in requiring people  with 
> disabilities
> to prove
>
> their worth while others are guaranteed the minimum  wage. The time has 
> come
> to pass
>
> the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities  Act. No more subminimum 
> wages:
> the
>
> time is now!
>
> Years ago I  knew a blind woman who worked in a sheltered workshop. In
> addition to
>
> blindness, she had cerebral palsy, giving her limited use of one side of 
> her
> body.
>
> Her job? She worked assembling large heavy rubber mats, a physically
> demanding job.
>
> She was paid on a piece rate based on the number of mats she  could 
> assemble
> each
>
> day. She was paid according to her productivity, taking  home less than $6
> for two
>
> weeks' work. Oh, and by the way, she had a college  degree. Clearly, the 
> job
> was
>
> a poor match. It did not reflect her ability but  her physical 
> limitations.
> Yet no
>
> one asked if it made sense for her to be  making large, heavy rubber mats.
> No one
>
> asked if another job might be a better  fit, given her education and
> interests. The
>
> sheltered workshop made mats, and  that was the work she was given.
>
> In 1986 I  became the first executive director of the newly created New
> Mexico Commission
>
> for the Blind. One of the programs that was transferred to the new
> Commission  was
>
> a sheltered workshop. As the new director, the first policy I issued was 
> to
> eliminate
>
> the payment of subminimum wages. I was told that my actions were
> irresponsible,
>
> that the workshop would go broke and have to close its doors,  leaving the
> workers
>
> out in the cold with nowhere to go. But the sheltered  workshop did not go
> broke,
>
> even when we began paying better wages, even when we  began paying into 
> the
> Social
>
> Security system, even when we began providing  vacation and sick leave, 
> even
> when
>
> we began providing retirement benefits.
>
> So how did  we stay afloat? How did we remain profitable? We started with
> the assumption
>
> that blind people could be competitive. We assumed that it was the
> responsibility
>
> of management to find profitable contracts and to phase out  those that 
> were
> not
>
> profitable. We looked at whether the jobs available in the 
> workshop--mostly
> industrial
>
> sewing and assembly--were regarded by the workers  as suited to their 
> skills
> and
>
> interests; and, when they were not, we helped the  workers find other 
> jobs,
> jobs
>
> in the community. We assisted the woman who  worked assembling large, 
> heavy
> rubber
>
> mats to set up a home-based telephone  answering service business, a much
> better
>
> match with her skills and ability and  one at which she could earn a good
> wage--a
>
> competitive wage--not some  piece-rate subminimum wage.
>
> But, you  may ask, how big is the problem really? How many people with
> disabilities
>
> are  being paid below the minimum wage? According to the U.S. Department 
> of
> Labor,
>
> as of November 10, 2010, approximately 2,552 employers were holding 
> special
> subminimum
>
> wage certificates. But that does not mean that there are only 2,552 
> people
> being
>
> paid below the minimum wage--disgraceful as that number would be.  The
> actual number
>
> is much larger--much, much larger. A certificate is not  required for each
> individual.
>
> Many individuals can be paid below the minimum  wage under a single
> subminimum wage
>
> certificate. The U.S. Department of Labor  estimates that under the 2,552
> subminimum
>
> wage certificates approximately  368,106 individuals with disabilities are
> being
>
> paid below the minimum  wage--over a third of a million people. And there 
> is
> essentially
>
> no oversight.  Last I knew, only three federal inspectors were assigned to
> monitor
>
> the payment  of subminimum wages to the 368,106 workers with disabilities.
>
> So is the  answer to hire more inspectors? No. The problem has been and
> continues
>
> to be  that the subminimum wage exemption is based on the unquestioned
> assumption
>
> that  blind people and others with disabilities must prove their
> worth--prove their
>
> worth--while people without disabilities are assured the minimum wage. The
> subminimum
>
> wage system is rooted in low expectations. It operates with little
> oversight and
>
> even less accountability. When deciding an individual's  productivity, no
> one questions
>
> whether the individual has received adequate  training. No one questions
> whether
>
> the individual has been given the needed  supports and accommodations to
> reflect
>
> his or her ability fairly. No one  questions the accuracy of the time 
> study
> used
>
> to determine the individual's  wage. No one wonders whether other jobs 
> might
> be better
>
> suited to the  individual's strengths and interests. And no one wonders if
> there
>
> might be a  conflict of interest--whether it is fair to entrust the same
> entity that
>
> stands  to benefit from keeping wages low with the job of deciding the
> individual's
>
> productivity.
>
> And  the federal government supports and encourages the system by granting
> noncompetitive
>
> federal contracts under the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act. To work on  these
> contracts,
>
> an individual must be legally blind or must have a physical or  mental
> disability
>
> that "constitutes a substantial handicap to employment  and is of such a
> nature as
>
> to prevent the individual under such disability from  currently engaging 
> in
> normal
>
> competitive employment." But who decides that  an individual is incapable 
> of
> engaging
>
> in "normal competitive employment"?  The workshop does. And who decides 
> the
> individual's
>
> productivity? The workshop  does. And who decides how many hours an
> individual can
>
> work each week? The  workshop does. And who oversees the subminimum wage
> system?
>
> Essentially no one.
>
> It is  time to end subminimum wages for blind people and others with
> disabilities.
>
> It  is time to end the abuse, time to end the exploitation; and it is time
> to end
>
> the custodial attitudes that perpetuate low expectations, the idea that 
> the
> blind
>
> and others with disabilities must prove their worth. It is time to end the
> economic
>
> enslavement of the blind and others, and it is most certainly time to  end
> the federal
>
> government's protection of a flawed and failed system that  operates in 
> the
> name
>
> of charity and kindness. It is time to pass the Fair Wages  for Workers 
> with
> Disabilities
>
> Act. No more subminimum wages: the time is now!
>
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>
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>
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