[Ohio-talk] Special Wage Certificate Online Discussion

Jordy D. Stringer jordystringer83 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 12 16:10:59 UTC 2019

There is still time for you to chime in on the online discussion regarding
special wage certificates. In an effort to help spark some ideas here is
what I submitted.

I am a person who happens to be blind and I work at a center for
Independent Living in Southeast Ohio. It is our belief that people with
disabilities have the right to choices and opportunities in society that
support and maximize their empowerment, inclusion, leadership, independence
and full participation in community life.  The practice of paying
individuals subminimum wages is unconscionable and we do not align with
this discriminatory mentality at all. It is said that as Americans we are
born with equal and unalienable rights however this does not apply if you
are a person with a disability. We are individuals who are marginalized,
underserved, and under employed.

Much of this has to do with the obliviousness of employers. The argument is
used that special wage certificates allow individuals the opportunity to
become gainfully and meaningfully employed. It is hard for me to
intellectualize this when a person can be paid less than twenty-five cents
for one hour of work spent. The most effective way to ensure the equal
employment opportunities exist for individuals with disabilities is to
completely and responsibly phase out the practice of issuing these special
wage certificates.

I can understand the antiquated however historical necessity for this being
put in place nearly 100 years ago, but it is time to no longer allow people
with disabilities to be taken advantage of in this way.  As a society I’m
struck by how far we still have left to go as it relates to providing equal
rights for American citizens.

Employers who hold these wage certificates are by no means helping to
facilitate independence or equal rights for the individuals they are said
to represent. They live in penthouses, with six-figure salaries, and in
many cases investment portfolios worth 1 million or more dollars. Meanwhile
the people they claim to be helping live in impoverished neighborhoods, on
fixed incomes less than people in prison, with hardly any access to
healthcare, social, or other every-day activities. Meanwhile many top-level
executives drive foreign cars, fly helicopters, and own large pieces of
property. The most effective and profound way to send the message that
needs to be sent is to phase out the use of the special wage certificates.


Jordy D. Stringer, Executive Director

Southeastern Ohio Center for Independent Living, 418 South Broad Street
Lancaster, OH 43130

E-mail: jssocil at gmail.com

Phone: (740) 689-1494 EXT (11)

"Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with
love and reverence."

 -Henry David Thoreau

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