Workers with disabilities left out of Obama wage planFebruary 1, 2014
Advocates are crying foul after learning that many individuals with disabilities will likely be left out of President Barack Obama’s plan to hike the minimum wage for federal contractors.
Obama said in his State of the Union address earlier this week that he will issue an executive order mandating that federal contractors pay their workers no less than $10.10 per hour.
“In the coming weeks, I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty,” Obama said.
But now advocates say they are being told that the plan excludes people with disabilities who currently earn less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.
Employers — including many with federal government contracts — can obtain special permission from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay those with disabilities less than minimum wage under a provision that’s been in place since the 1930s. Many disability advocacy groups have urged an end to the policy in recent years arguing that it is outdated and unfairly encourages segregation.
It’s unclear how many people earn less than minimum wage as employees of federal contractors, but the AbilityOne Program, which facilitates federal contracts for employers of those with disabilities, says that nearly 50,000 people with disabilities were employed through its programs in 2012, many of whom are believed to be working for subminimum wage.
In a call this week with U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Vice President Joe Biden, disability advocates say they were told that the executive order would not alter the ability of approved federal contractors to continue paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage, though such workers could see a slight uptick in pay. That’s because subminimum wage is often calculated as a percentage of the pay that a typical worker would earn for the same job.
Now disability groups are uniting to ask Obama to reconsider.
“This may mean that a worker receiving pennies an hour today may receive a dime as a result of the executive order. Surely we can do better than this,” wrote Jeff Rosen, chairperson of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency tasked with advising Congress and the president on disability issues, in a letter to Perez and Obama.
Meanwhile, a separate letter to the administration organized by the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination has support from the Autism Society, the National Down Syndrome Congress, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and TASH, among others.
“All employees of federal contractors should mean all employees, regardless of disability status,” the letter says.
White House officials declined to offer specifics about the executive order Obama will issue, but said that any changes to the current subminimum wage laws would require action from Congress. Further details about the executive order will be released “in the near future,” an administration spokesman said.
Advocates insist, however, that the president does have the authority to act unilaterally.
“We believe that if the president has the power to require government contractors to pay a higher wage for workers without disabilities that he can do the same for workers with disabilities,” said Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
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Workers with disabilities left out of Obama wage plan
February 1, 2014

Advocates are crying foul after learning that many individuals with disabilities will likely be left out of President Barack Obama’s plan to hike the minimum wage for federal contractors.

Obama said in his State of the Union address earlier this week that he will issue an executive order mandating that federal contractors pay their workers no less than $10.10 per hour.

“In the coming weeks, I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty,” Obama said.

But now advocates say they are being told that the plan excludes people with disabilities who currently earn less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.

Employers — including many with federal government contracts — can obtain special permission from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay those with disabilities less than minimum wage under a provision that’s been in place since the 1930s. Many disability advocacy groups have urged an end to the policy in recent years arguing that it is outdated and unfairly encourages segregation.

It’s unclear how many people earn less than minimum wage as employees of federal contractors, but the AbilityOne Program, which facilitates federal contracts for employers of those with disabilities, says that nearly 50,000 people with disabilities were employed through its programs in 2012, many of whom are believed to be working for subminimum wage.

In a call this week with U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Vice President Joe Biden, disability advocates say they were told that the executive order would not alter the ability of approved federal contractors to continue paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage, though such workers could see a slight uptick in pay. That’s because subminimum wage is often calculated as a percentage of the pay that a typical worker would earn for the same job.

Now disability groups are uniting to ask Obama to reconsider.

“This may mean that a worker receiving pennies an hour today may receive a dime as a result of the executive order. Surely we can do better than this,” wrote Jeff Rosen, chairperson of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency tasked with advising Congress and the president on disability issues, in a letter to Perez and Obama.

Meanwhile, a separate letter to the administration organized by the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination has support from the Autism Society, the National Down Syndrome Congress, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and TASH, among others.

“All employees of federal contractors should mean all employees, regardless of disability status,” the letter says.

White House officials declined to offer specifics about the executive order Obama will issue, but said that any changes to the current subminimum wage laws would require action from Congress. Further details about the executive order will be released “in the near future,” an administration spokesman said.

Advocates insist, however, that the president does have the authority to act unilaterally.

“We believe that if the president has the power to require government contractors to pay a higher wage for workers without disabilities that he can do the same for workers with disabilities,” said Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

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Protesters fight against cuts to homes for elderly & disabledDemonstrators flooded the Sacramento Capitol rotunda in California on June 13 to protest cuts to home care for the elderly and disabled. Police arrested 43 people.
Sean Kennedy, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said they were cited for misdemeanors and released.
It was the second protest in two days in which demonstrators were arrested by the California Highway Patrol, which provides security at the Capitol. Ten people were arrested on Tuesday after blocking the entrance to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.
Brown has proposed saving $225 million from the In-Home Supportive Services program through cuts that include a 7% reduction in hours of care. The cut would have a ripple effect because counties and the federal government would withdraw matching funds, leading to a total reduction of about $800 million.
Source

Protesters fight against cuts to homes for elderly & disabled

Demonstrators flooded the Sacramento Capitol rotunda in California on June 13 to protest cuts to home care for the elderly and disabled. Police arrested 43 people.

Sean Kennedy, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said they were cited for misdemeanors and released.

It was the second protest in two days in which demonstrators were arrested by the California Highway Patrol, which provides security at the Capitol. Ten people were arrested on Tuesday after blocking the entrance to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.

Brown has proposed saving $225 million from the In-Home Supportive Services program through cuts that include a 7% reduction in hours of care. The cut would have a ripple effect because counties and the federal government would withdraw matching funds, leading to a total reduction of about $800 million.

Source

"To the director and staff of the Judge Rotenberg Center, we are Anonymous.

Your mistreatment of disabled children and young adults has been brought to our attention. Your extensive use of aversive methods, including electric shock and withholding of food as a form of behavioral modification is nothing less than torture. We are aware that your so called treatments include attaching electrodes to students and administering a shock that is up to 20 times more powerful than that delivered by a police taser. We have seen the effects of it in mainstream media broadcasts, and heard the statements of opposition by family and friends. 

The founder, Doctor Matthew Israel was indicted on counts of obstructing justice by ordering the destruction of video evidence that detailed an event involving a student being shocked over 100 times. This is not the first action taken against the center for abuses. However, electric shock is still used as a part of the centers aversive program. 

In response to your torture of these individuals, we have initiated an operation against your center. We are calling upon all concerned citizens to spread the message of opposition through social networks, emails, and phone communications. Contact your local representatives and the Judge Rotenberg Center directly and voice your concern. We will no longer tolerate the abuse of the innocent.

We are demanding the immediate discontinue of all harsh aversive methods. This is a warning that you should not take lightly.

We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Judge Rotenberg Center, you should expect us.”

“In 1999, when Rob was 13, his parents sent him to the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, located in Canton, Massachusetts, 20 miles outside Boston. The facility, which calls itself a “special needs school,” takes in all kinds of troubled kids—severely autistic, mentally retarded, schizophrenic, bipolar, emotionally disturbed—and attempts to change their behavior with a complex system of rewards and punishments, including painful electric shocks to the torso and limbs. Of the 234 current residents, about half are wired to receive shocks, including some as young as nine or ten. Nearly 60 percent come from New York, a quarter from Massachusetts, the rest from six other states and Washington, D.C. The Rotenberg Center, which has 900 employees and annual revenues exceeding $56 million, charges $220,000 a year for each student. States and school districts pick up the tab.” - School Shock, Eight states are sending autistic, mentally retarded, and emotionally troubled kids to a facility that punishes them with painful electric shocks. How many times do you have to zap a child before it’s torture?
One group’s suffering & injustice is all of our suffering & injustice. 

In 1999, when Rob was 13, his parents sent him to the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, located in Canton, Massachusetts, 20 miles outside Boston. The facility, which calls itself a “special needs school,” takes in all kinds of troubled kids—severely autistic, mentally retarded, schizophrenic, bipolar, emotionally disturbed—and attempts to change their behavior with a complex system of rewards and punishments, including painful electric shocks to the torso and limbs. Of the 234 current residents, about half are wired to receive shocks, including some as young as nine or ten. Nearly 60 percent come from New York, a quarter from Massachusetts, the rest from six other states and Washington, D.C. The Rotenberg Center, which has 900 employees and annual revenues exceeding $56 million, charges $220,000 a year for each student. States and school districts pick up the tab.” - School ShockEight states are sending autistic, mentally retarded, and emotionally troubled kids to a facility that punishes them with painful electric shocks. How many times do you have to zap a child before it’s torture?

One group’s suffering & injustice is all of our suffering & injustice.