WHEREAS, Disabled workers have been unfairly excluded from the federal minimum wage for 74 years, and today over 300,000 disabled workers are working for subminimum wages; and

WHEREAS, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) discriminates against people with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, this Section allows the Secretary of Labor to grant special wage certificates to employers, permitting them to pay their workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage, often in sheltered work environments; and

WHEREAS, This discrimination is rooted in low expectations based on misconceptions about the capabilities of people with disabilities, promoting the support of an outdated business model that fosters underemployment of workers with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, subminimum-wage sheltered workshops have eroded into day custody centers, limiting opportunities for workers with disabilities ever to transition into integrated, competitive work; and

WHEREAS, these institutions instill a philosophy of incapacity, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy resulting in long-term underemployment; and

WHEREAS, these sheltered shops are awarded or given special consideration in the awarding of government contracts to mass produce items for use in government agencies and institutions; and

WHEREAS, the sheltered work system is a moneymaker for the subminimum wage employer, encouraging the perpetuation of subminimum wage employment and leaving workers with disabilities little to no choice for real employment: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the blind of Texas in convention assembled this eleventh day of November, 2012, in the city of Beaumont, Texas, that we strongly urge Congress to enact The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2011 (H.R. 3086) that:

  1. Discontinues the practice of issuing special wage certificates by the Secretary of Labor to new applicants;
  2. Phases out all remaining special wage certificates over a 3-year period, with private for-profit entities’ certificates being revoked after 1 year; public or governmental entities’ certificates being revoked after 2 years; and non-profit entities’ certificates being revoked after 3 years; and
  3. Repeals Section14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act Three years after the law has been enacted, officially abolishing the practice of paying workers with disabilities subminimum wage.