Sheltered Workshops, Medicaid and Fred Upton

Sheltered Workshops are one of the biggest segregation and anti inclusion issues for people with various disabilities.  They remove people with various disabilities from the normal workforce, pay them at a sub minimum wage pay and basically financially exploit people with disabilities for the profit of organizations running sheltered workshops.  While at a meeting with Fred Upton’s staff a person who runs a local sheltered workshop used people with disabilities to lobby for the stopping of the  Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act which would require for profit companies to pay all people with disabilities at least minimum wage, and non profits will face the same requirement in three years.

Currently companies and non profits can receive special wage certificates under a 1938 federal law allowing them to pay sub minimum wage to persons with disabilities.  This law frankly is very outdated and treats persons with disabilities as a second class citizen who is not worthy of earning the minimum wages that everyone else is entitled too when working.

Yes its very hard for persons with disabilities to find a job, much harder than it is for the non disabled.  But if Medicaid is properly funded so that people can get job coaching and make sure their disabilities as well as general health are properly able to be treated we are much more likely to find a job.  If this was to be combined with tax breaks for employing people with SSI, SSDI and other disability programs many disabled people would be able to have employment, get off the public assistance system, pay into the public assistance system for the next generation of disabled.

So yes, I support Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act which would end the ability for employers to treat the disabled as a second class workforce.