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Our letter urging President Obama and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to include federal contractors with disabilities who make less than minimum wage in the President’s forthcoming $10.10/hour minimum wage executive order has gained momentum. We’ve been joined by labor groups, like AFL-CIO, SEIU and Change to Win, as well as a broad array of disability and civil rights organizations, such as the ACLU, the Collaboration for the Promotion of Self-Determination, the National Down Syndrome Congress, and many others representing people with disabilities, our families, and the providers that serve us. Unfortunately, lobbyists for the sheltered workshop industry are now mobilizing to try and exclude people with disabilities from President Obama’s forthcoming executive order and the $10.10/hour minimum wage protections it will bring employees of government contractors.

 

As the sheltered workshop lobby begins to push back against the turning tide, we must make sure that our voices are louder. Now, more than ever, it is important for self-advocates, our families, and providers who want to see disabled people have equality of opportunity write emails to the White House and the Secretary of Labor. 

 

THIS MUST BE DONE BY MONDAY OF NEXT WEEK.

 

Please feel free to use language from the joint letter and to TELL YOUR OWN PERSONAL STORY. Fear is a powerful factor for many sheltered workshop proponents, but the vision of a better economic future and a life of one’s own for those with disabilities is stronger.

 

Sample talking points:

  •  
  • * We urge you to include workers with disabilities, including those now making less than minimum wage under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, in the President’s forthcoming executive order on a $10.10/hour minimum wage for government contractors.
  •  
  • * We are seeing tremendous progress in moving people out of sheltered workshops and into integrated employment. In the last few years, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have committed to phasing out sheltered work. Vermont ended sheltered workshops and subminimum wage in 2003 and today enjoys twice the national average of integrated employment for people with disabilities.
  •  
  • * “All government contractors” should mean all government contractors, including those with disabilities.
  •  
  • * We thank the President and Secretary Perez for working to increase economic opportunity for all Americans, and we urge them to make certain that people with disabilities are not excluded from those efforts.

 

In your emails to the White House, please contact:

 

Claudia Gordon (Claudia_L_Gordon@who.eop.gov) and  “cc”:

Valerie Jarrett (vjarrett@who.eop.gov)

Portia Wu (portia.y.wu@who.eop.gov)

 

In your emails to the Department of Labor, please contact:

 

Matthew Colangelo (Colangelo.Matthew@dol.gov)   and “cc”

ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez (martinez.kathy@dol.gov).



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