ASAN applauds Congress for the introduction of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act. If passed, the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act would end subminimum wage for people with disabilities, and create new opportunities to help us get and keep real jobs with real pay. ASAN is proud to support this critical piece of legislation.
For almost a century, it has been legal to pay people with disabilities less than non-disabled people for doing the same job. People with disabilities, particularly people with intellectual disabilities, have been paid literally pennies on the dollar for our labor. We have been forced to work in sheltered workshops, which isolate and segregate us from our communities. These practices compound the already lower employment rates and significantly higher poverty rates of our community.
Disabled people deserve better than job options that pay us much less than we are worth and keep us separated from non-disabled people. We all have the right to access good jobs in the community, and the supports we need to succeed. The Transformation To Competitive Employment act is a key first step to helping us regain our economic power, take control over our livelihoods, and further integrate into our communities. This bill will recognize our rights, and build the infrastructure we need to exercise them.
It has been 80 years since the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed and people with disabilities were excluded from minimum wage protections. It is past time to right this wrong. The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act will bring the change that our community desperately needs. We urge Congress to pass this long-overdue bill as soon as possible, and look forward to working with them to make that happen.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN was created to serve as a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community run by and for autistic Americans, advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of autistic people are heard in policy debates and the halls of power. Our staff work to educate communities, support self-advocacy in all its forms, and improve public perceptions of autism. ASAN’s members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends.