Much MORE Hummmmm And where was ACCSES with the LAWSUIT protecting this person's from such a VIOLENT form of discrimination??? And were was the local Disability Rights organization CHEERING ON THE SIDELINES THAT ANOTHER TERRIBLE Sheltered Workshop has been closed??? Peace Tom
This is a slightly edited comment from one of the almost 800 comment on the Federal Regulations basically setting the stage for the closing of Sheltered Workshops.
PS only 800 responses and many supporting the Proposed Rules on a national effort to close Sheltered Workshops WHERE WAS OUR VOICE??????
I must strongly object to the proposed rule that would completely eliminate subminimum wage payment to people with disabilities for work that they can perform. As a person with a severe physical disability, .......... Proposals such as these only work in practice if they take into account the fact that there is no possible way that they can represent a uniform positive change for people with disabilities. In reading the attached suggestions for making public comments, I observed where it was written that we should include personal experience related to the proposed bills or rules wherever possible. I find it important that those deliberating this change should know that I spent two years after obtaining a Masters Degree attempting to find a regular job, one that paid above minimum wage. Being highly unsuccessful and thus becoming depressed, I was hardly insulted when I was able to find work at United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County Inc. as a teachers assistant. I honestly cant even remember when it dawned on me exactly how much I was getting paid; I had a job. That was in 2008. Then in January of this year, New York State converted the Life Options Program that I was working for into a day habilitation program, presumably to be on the forefront of the very rule that is now being proposed. There went my supported employment. Other people with disabilities also lost their sheltered workshop employment, for which every one of them felt a tremendous sense of pride in being able to perform. The same can be said for my fellow teacher assistants. You may ask why this would be such a problem. It only represents slightly over a hundred jobs. First, this is inaccurate, as similar rules are being put in place in many areas of the country and thus similar needed programs and opportunities are being shut down. Speaking from what I have observed, in what other type of work setting can people with disabilities receive just the right amount of help they need in preparing or being fed lunch? I would also ask where there would be full-size changing tables for adults in the bathroom of a typical work setting. These are just a few examples of things that must be considered carefully before enacting such broad-brush legislation. People need to be paid for what they produce at the best of their ability regardless of how much that ends up becoming. Lastly, we need to be extremely careful to fully and properly apply the language of the Olmstead decision when looking at the most appropriate and least restrictive settings for people with disabilities to work, that are also (and this is key) of their choice. What is the harm in allowing sheltered workshops to continue if that is in fact where some people with disabilities would be most comfortable and most productive? To conclude by speaking for myself, I would like to say that I am now functioning as an unpaid volunteer performing the teacher assistant duties for which I was once paid. Because it was only part time work, it was deemed less valuable by New York State because I had to be billed for as a program participant at other times. This new rule would seem to make that process even more complicated and force me to wonder if I will ever be able to work. Please dont devalue what I and some other people with disabilities can do and feel good about doing. Please leave the full continuum of pay wages and employment options open to be chosen by people with disabilities.