Dear readers who are disabled, those who work in sheltered places, etc.,
This is a post just for you all. But first, a disclaimer.
All names in this post are the names of people who’ve worked or currently worked or work in sheltered workshops. I have to mention Henrys Turkey Service. I will explain later in the post.
First now that I’m done disclaiming stuff, let’s just say in brief what 14c would do and still does today.
As a disabled person, John goes to work every morning. He stacks boxes, puts things on an assembly line, and plays video games after a hard day at work. John is blind, and he works with others who have intellectual disabilities, Fragile X, and other syndromes of the brain that would make one think, “How could these folks work?” John gets paid … ready for this? … less than a dollar a day working at Sheltered Place Inc.
The above case study I just presented has fake names for a reason. John represents the blind and physically handicapped frequently pushed into the sheltered workshops, and Sheltered Place represents the real life places like Goodwill, Arc, and other places whose CEO makes too much more than the so-called “workers” who earn anywhere from mere pennies to $5, which is less than today’s federal minimum wage. What is going on in the sheltered places is anybody’s guess. There are stories of blind people forced to wear glasses, and I don’t want to walk all over anyone who wears them, but for some people, glasses ain’t cool. Some of us wear glasses because it’s protective, and I truly understand that. But if you’re a workshop worker and your supervisor makes you wear any kind of badge that not only designates you as a worker, but as a “blind worker”, according to some it’s humiliating.
The best example of a long term and abusive sheltered workshop is that of T. H. Johnson and Kenneth Henry, the founders of Henry’s Turkey Service.
The story begins in Texas “state schools.” Intellectually disabled men were trucked to Atalissa in an effort to get their stuff out there and get the men doing something. But what Henry didn’t expect was that the company was mismanaged by Randy and Drew Newbauer, and they ruined the town’s relations to management at the “Bunkhouse” where the boys stayed. Later on, they were found among squalid conditions, rodents and feces everywhere, mice and rats, think of anything squalid. These men were rescued by a social worker in that county, and it was later found that the men were a major case of 14c Mania.
Some of the men only had $80 or less in life savings. I heard this and thought, oh my hot diggity dog! How could any coward do something like pay any working person less than ten a week? I don’t know.
Section 14c must go, either by phaseout, or immediately. Section 14c is evil, pure and simple.
I have a real friend in Iowa who works and doesn’t get paid his monthly minimum, and doesn’t get his daily wage as he should. This guy has dreams of being married and his girlfriend living with him, the whole bit. But they live in group care homes or apartments that do not accommodate pair living arrangements! The man is forced to endure life in a group home while his woman seriously has no room for the man to stay because her apartment is small, albeit an independent living arrangement for her.
With Section 14C of the Fair Labor Standards Act, they will never obtain the American Dream.
Let them do it, I say.
Let them obtain the American Dream of home ownership now! Dear President and Congress, take out 14C and don’t listen to the Arc and other sheltered places where the disabled languish on and on.
I’m currently dating a guy who is blind, and he has the ability if not more than that to get a job. I watch all my friends try and get job after job and fill out application after application and no results, but I know why my friends are rejected for jobs so much: liability, expense, and lack of education on the part of the employer. I know my blind other half will overcome every battle, fight every war, and get his job but he must be paid minimum rates or higher as specified by the Federal minimum Wage. If 14C is invoked, when will my boyfriend and I buy a house? Or a condo? Hire handy men to put some things in the house? When? How will we save up for that laptop we want? Or the cable bill? It’s an endless cycle of save up, buy, save up, buy! It’s inconveniencing us as a community for life! We don’t deserve it, don’t like it, and want to be treated as human.
As I speak, if 14c is phased out, we disabled people will take over your neighborhood and your housing street. We will be the good tenants in a safer living arrangement, a better selection of houses is open to us, and we will own property. Get rid of Section 14C!!!!!! If not, then say goodbye to your so called American Dream. It’s riddled with inequality and doesn’t recognize disabled people as able to maintain themselves. See this and get rid of Section 14C of the Fair Labor Standards Act today!
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