Two weeks ago, they said it couldn’t be done. They said including disabled workers now being paid less than minimum wage in the executive order President Obama had just announced guaranteeing a $10.10/hour minimum wage for federal contract workers was just not possible.
Today, I’m standing in the White House watching President Obama put his signature to an executive order that includes disabled workers. I’m watching the President and other leading figures in the administration speak with passion and commitment about economic opportunity for all Americans, including people with disabilities. And I know exactly who we have to thank for this wonderful moment: you.
Without your advocacy, your emails and donations and volunteering, none of this could have happened. If not for the hundreds of people who emailed and called the White House and Department of Labor in the last week, we wouldn’t be here. This is one of our biggest steps forward in the fight against subminimum wage and the sheltered workshop industry in years. We took on their lobbyists and won an unqualified victory. You mattered today, and for the sake of the thousands of disabled workers who stand to benefit, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now it’s time to thank President Obama and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez for hearing our voices on this issue, and to ask them to stand with us in the fight to come to repeal Section 14(c), an outdated relic from the 1930s that allows disabled workers to be paid pennies an hour, for all Americans, not just those employed by government service and concession contractors. Will you join us in lending your name to this effort?
Sign our petition to thank President Obama and Secretary Perez for including disabled workers, and ask them to work with us to convince Congress to end subminimum wage for all workers with disabilities. Let our community’s gratitude and resolve be heard. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your advocacy. And, as always, Nothing About Us, Without Us.
Regards,Ari Ne’eman President Autistic Self Advocacy Network