This week, H.R. 831, The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act, was introduced by Congressman Greg Harper (R-MS). This bill phases out and repeals Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If enacted into law, hundreds of thousands of individuals with the most significant disabilities could lose their jobs. These persons and others would lose their choice of a work option and opportunity. The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013 currently has 11 cosponsors, none of whom represent Indiana citizens.
In response, ACCSES, one of INARF's national partners, is coordinating action and advocacy with other interest groups supporting Section 14(c). ACCSES representatives have been meeting with committee staff and members of Congress and engaging the media to stop this bill from becoming law - and you can help.
Please ask your representative(s) to oppose this damaging legislation by participating in the ACCSES campaign to preserve Section 14(c) and employment equality.
Here's how to get involved:
1. Reach out. Call your Representative(s) at the House Switchboard (202-224-3121) or directly through their offices.
2. Make the connection. Tell the staffer that you provide employment services for individuals with disabilities.
3. Tell your story. Provide a story of an individual that has been helped by your services, particularly individuals whose productivity is limited by a disability and as a result is receiving commensurate wages. Explain how many people would lose employment opportunities if H.R. 831 would pass (i.e., Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standard Act is repealed).
4. Explain the issues. Educate staff by sharing your concerns about the bill.
(a) H.R. 831 will simply have the effect of denying the opportunity to work for individuals with the most significant disabilities who cannot meet productivity standards.
(b) Individuals with the most significant disabilities must have every opportunity to work, including working in a skill development setting at a wage that reflects their productivity.
5. Follow up. Leave your contact information and ask for the email address of the staff person working on employment policy. Follow up via email with that staff person and provide the ACCSES 14(c) Position Paper and theACCSES Position Paper on the Array of Employment Opportunities.
6. Invite your representatives to your Skill Development Centers.
If you choose to participate in this call to action, please share a report with ACCSES and INARF by emailing Theresa Morgan and Elizabeth Patel, respectively. Feel free to share this action alert with staff and community allies and supporters. Your efforts and activity are appreciated - together we can make a difference.