National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota

Resolution A13-02

 

WHEREAS, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) currently permits approximately 3,000 employers to obtain Special Wage Certificates allowing them to pay workers with disabilities wages below the federal minimum wage, herein referred to as “subminimum wages;” and

 

WHEREAS, among these 3,000 employers with certificates, over 400,000 workers with disabilities are paid subminimum wages, some as low as 3 cents per hour, perpetuating the myth that people with disabilities lack the capacity for competitive, integrated employment; and

 

WHEREAS, employers with the Special Wage Certificate argue that they cannot afford to pay their workers with disabilities the federal minimum wage, but these same employers have enough revenue to pay their executives six-figure salaries and hire 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, Goodwill Industries admits that 101 (almost two-thirds) of its 165 affiliates pay their workers with disabilities the federal minimum wage or higher, while the remaining 64 affiliates take advantage of the Special Wage Certificates to pay their workers with disabilities subminimum wages, illustrating that the subminimum wage business model is not a necessary evil but a hypocritical business choice; and

 

WHEREAS, Congressman Gregg Harper has introduced the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013, HR 831, in the United States Congress, which would stop the Department of Labor from issuing new Special Wage Certificates, responsibly phase out the use of current Certificates over a three-year period, and finally repeal Section 14(c) of the FLSA; and

 

WHEREAS, HR 831 has 43 cosponsors and is endorsed by over 50 national and local organizations of and for people with disabilities who aggressively oppose the use of subminimum wages and any perpetuation of this discriminatory provision: Now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in Convention assembled this Twenty-Seventh day of October 2013, in the city of Bloomington, Minnesota, that we condemn and deplore the actions of all employers in the state of Minnesota 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 strongly urge Minnesota delegates to the United States Congress to cosponsor the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge the United States Congress to act swiftly and boldly to pass this critical legislation.