[nfbmi-talk] Fw: maro still scramblind on sub-minimum wages

David Robinson drob1946 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 16 00:27:34 UTC 2016


  Thanks for sending this out. This is the typical distortion of the the treatment of people with disabilities. PWD are the only segment of our society that has to prove our production and work ability before we can get the minimum wage.  How sick is this thinking.  All  under the banner of helping.  

----- Original Message ----- 
From: joe harcz Comcast 
To: Eleanor Canter 
Cc: Darma Canter ; Lewis, Anil ; Kelly Buckland ; David Robinson NFB MI ; terry Eagle ; Mark Eagle ; Larry Posont NFBMI Pres. ; Jill Gerrie ; Sarah Gravetti MISILC DNM ; Rodney Craig MISILC ; Marlene Malloy MCRS Dir. ; BRIAN SABOURIN ; Elmer Cerano MPAS ; Norm DeLisle ; Mark Johnson ; Marsha Katz ; Leigh Campbell-Earl ; Bill Earl MI ADAPT ; Clark Goodrich 
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2016 11:17 AM
Subject: maro still scramblind on sub-minimum wages

Check out the following! It appears the NFB/DRN suit in Ohio and pressure by advocates here has had some impact on the amount of sub-minimum wage jobs here in Michigan. But MARO is still spinning the dimensions and jjust what is going on here to maintain and implement real "employment first".

I'm openly wonderring though why are protection and advocacy service hasn't done anything like what was done in Ohio.

Regardless advocates keep up the pressure to ensure that all entities have not one PWD working at slave wages in spite of the naked excuses for maintaining them. And let us also ensure the demise of all segregated employment like those still used predominately by MARO members!

Joe Harcz
By Todd Culver, Executive Director MARO atJ



February 8, 2016


“It is one of the obvious but not often really understood facts of life that there can be no share of market without share of mind…  The things people believe

in are as real to them as facts.”


– Memo from advertising team to Ford Motor Company, 1963


I am currently reading “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story.” It’s set in 1963 and Detroit is on top of the world. The city’s leaders are among the most

visionary in America at the time: Grandson of the first Ford, “The Deuce,” Henry Ford II; influential labor leader Walter Reuther; Motown’s founder Berry

Gordy; the Reverend C.L. Franklin and his amazing daughter, Aretha; super car salesman Lee Iacocca – and where Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have

a Dream” speech two months before he made it famous in the Washington march.


Yet within all this excitement and promise, the book also reveals the shadow of misfortune; before the riot, white flight, manufacturing competition from

abroad, civic corruption, and the litany of woe that came to characterize the city leading up to bankruptcy – prior to the substantive regeneration I believe

we are witnessing today. Detroit at its peak was in some ways threatened by its own framework; success, in a sense, leading too many of its leaders away

from awareness of the changing world around them.


There are parallels to our own experience here.  As an association, we have formed an effective network of mission driven organizations serving individuals

with disabilities and other barriers to community access, particularly in the area of employment. But MARO has also recognized that the world around us

is changing.  It has come with acknowledgement that the clear direction of public policy is competitive employment in an integrated setting, and our organizations

must align with these principles to deliver on their mission – to optimize independence and self-sufficiency, and remove barriers to community access.


As reported this week in a MARO Info Alert, a US Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge recently ruled on a case in Ohio regarding three individuals

with disabilities who were working under a special minimum wage certificate, and found the employer not to be in compliance with the law.  The three individuals

with disabilities were supported by state and local advocacy groups in filing the first ever petition with an Administrative Law Judge to seek a review

of their wages.


In the decision, the judge found that the community rehabilitation program failed to prove that the individuals’ disabilities kept them from accomplishing

their assigned tasks.  As such, the judge decided that their wages were not calculated correctly and the employer must pay at least minimum wage to the

three individuals.  The judge also ruled that the three individuals must receive back pay, liquidated damages, and attorney fees and reasonable litigation



This will doubtlessly inspire another round of calls for the elimination of Section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This example of noncompliance

will be promoted as the norm – nurturing the idea that the use of this provision in the law is universally exploited. This is simply not true, but by virtue

of repetition the belief can become as real as the facts.


Let me be clear in response: MARO supports efforts to enhance compliance and enforcement of Section 14(c) through increased oversight and enhanced training

and education.


Relative to the composition of our association, and use of this provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, here are the facts:


– As of January 2016, there are 55 community rehabilitation organizations (CROs) in Michigan that hold a 14(c) certificate, authorizing payment of special

minimum wages. 31 of these CROs are currently MARO members.


– This means that among current MARO members, 45% of these organizations do not hold a 14 (c) certificate.


MARO does not actively lobby in support of “subminimum” wages. We do feel that any movement to eliminate or phase out 14 (c) should not advance without

careful consideration of the consequences of eliminating this employment option for people with disabilities. The reason that a number of our member organizations

choose to hold a 14(c) certificate authorizing payment of special minimum wages, commensurate with productivity, is the recognition that by doing so, they

can create employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities – jobs that without this provision in the law would not otherwise currently



In a manufacturing environment, when a productivity level is not consistent with assigned unit labor costs, it is simply not sustainable as a business practice

– this is true for workers with and without disabilities. This provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes businesses that strive to employ people

with disabilities to provide an option for this type of employment – it is simply an option.


MARO supports initiatives to enhance meaningful, informed choice for individuals with the most significant disabilities, including increased opportunities

to work in competitive integrated employment (at or above the minimum or prevailing wage) and self-employment. We fully support the recent Executive Order

on Employment First. We believe in the capability of every person, equal access, and innovation.


As an association, we also recognize that many community jobs are no longer industrially based and do not depend on production rates in the manner that

industrial jobs do; we are promoting best practices in the field of job development and job coaching, in pursuit of competitive employment outcomes; and

we are actively engaged in programming to develop a stronger community of practice in the field of benefits coordination and counseling – as fear of losing

benefits remains among the greatest disincentives to employment success. We must also work toward a rate structure that acknowledges that the supports

required to achieve the desired outcome of competitive integrated employment will be more intensive, and more expensive, than currently designed.  We promote

business practices that result in recognized credentials of service quality. And all these things must align to effect continuous improvement, and meaningful

systems change.


MARO members have consistently and effectively enhanced quality of life of individuals served for many years – we are compelled to ensure that light is

shone upon any shadows of disappointment; that our systems of service provision are strengthened and well-aligned with public policy and funding to eradicate

any cracks through which those who need support may fall; and act on our belief that the capability of every person can be fully discovered and connected

to their community.

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