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A2015-01: Regarding Ending Subminimum Wage Payments to Workers with Disabilities

Adopted in: 2015

Topics: Employment, Discrimination, Labor

WHEREAS, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) is founded on the erroneous belief that people with disabilities lack the capacity for competitive, integrated employment and currently permits approximately 100 Minnesota employers to obtain Special Wage Certificates resulting in over thousands of workers with disabilities to be paid wages that are less than the federal minimum wage, herein referred to as "subminimum wages;" and

WHEREAS, employers who pay subminimum wages to people with disabilities, arguing that the Special Wage Certificate is an essential tool for employing workers with disabilities, threaten that an increase in employee wages would require them to terminate their workers with disabilities, but some of these same employers have enough revenue to pay their executives six-figure salaries and pay professional lobbyists to advocate for the perpetuation of this discriminatory provision; and

WHEREAS, other employers of people with disabilities operating in similarly situated industries, working with comparable populations of employees with disabilities, are able to maintain successful businesses without the use of the Special Wage Certificates, proving the assertions and threats of subminimum wage employers to be false; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota is joined by our Fair Wage partners—over eighty other national and local organizations of and for people with disabilities—in our effort to support the policies and programs that work to end the payment of subminimum wages to workers with disabilities and to aggressively oppose the development and implementation of policies that would perpetuate the use of this discriminatory provision, and

WHEREAS, Congressman Gregg Harper has introduced the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act (or TIME Act), HR 188 which, when enacted, will immediately stop the

issuance of new Special Wage Certificates, responsibly phase out the use of the Special Wage Certificates over a three-year period, and finally repeal Section 14(c) of the FLSA; and

WHEREAS, Senator Kelly Ayotte has introduced a companion TIME Act in the Senate which is S. 2001; and

WHEREAS, there are 46 members of the US House of Representatives who have cosponsored HR 188 and 1 senator who has cosponsored S. 2001, but no Minnesota Members of Congress have yet co-sponsored the TIME Act: Now, Therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention Assembled this 11th day of October, 2015, in the city of Bloomington, Minnesota, that we condemn and deplore the actions of all employers that take advantage of the unfair, discriminatory, immoral provision found in Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we continue to encourage the public to discontinue donating to, shopping at, or partnering with subminimum-wage employers until they discontinue their use of the Special Wage Certificates and pay every employee at least the federal minimum wage; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call on all other members of the US House of Representatives, especially those from Minnesota, to exercise the same courage by supporting the passage of HR 188 and S 2001.

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