This week, President Obama announced in his State of the Union address a forthcoming executive order requiring that all employees of federal contractors make at least $10.10/hour. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network applauds the President’s commitment to a living wage for low-income workers, yet is profoundly concerned by reports that the White House and Department of Labor do not intend to allow people with disabilities working for federal contractors with 14(c) certificates to receive the new $10.10/hour minimum wage protection.
Twenty-four years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is long past time for people with disabilities to receive equal rights and equal pay. ASAN urges the White House to include people with disabilities working for federal contractors with 14(c) certificates in the new $10.10/hour minimum wage protection. In response to remarks made by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez after the State of the Union stating that the White House lacks the authority absent congressional action to prevent subminimum wage for workers employed by federal contractors with 14(c) certificates, ASAN has produced a legal memorandum analyzing and outlining the President and the Secretary of Labor’s authority to take such action. As the President himself stated, “If you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.” Surely, such a principle should apply to all Americans, with and without disabilities.