Social Justice Activists in the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities are showing how little they understand about the lives and choices of people with complex and profound intellectual and developmental disabilities. With no planning in regards to transition for employees, employers, vocational training and job development, this commission has pushed for the rapid elimination of certificates which allow special wages for a certain population.
Specific employers to pay specific employees a specific wage for a specific job
These certificates are not a “catch-all” loop-hole to allow employers to pay any person with a disability less than the minimum wage. The commission leads people and legislators to believe that these certificates are easy to get and allow employers to exploit their employees. ACTIVISTS – PLEASE GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT
There is no “loop-hole” and there is no exploitation. There is choice and alternatives that are based on an individual’s person-centered planning. These activists have literally pulled the rug out from under those who were employed with this certificate and those in the future who would have benefitted from this choice. It is no longer available and there are no substitutes.
The people affected by this new law were working in integrated, community settings. These jobs were a route to inclusion and community. This is what people with disabilities and their advocates have been wanting. Things were working well for the employee with a disability, the employer, the community and the family/caregivers of the employees.
That is until someone (Shaun Bickley – co-chair of Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities) threw a monkey wrench into the lives of people he does not know or understand. Mr Bickley has greatly misinterpreted research on the issue, misinterprets the law behind the certificates and how they are used and totally disregards the choices of those most affected. He has led community members and our City Council to believe these employees are exploited and has twisted the truth to outright lied about the situation in order to push his personal agenda.
Contrary to what Mr. Bickley claims, there were many concerns voiced by people with disabilities and disability advocates against the elimination of the special certificates. Unfortunately, Mr. Bickley does not think that these people have the right to voice an opinion and so discounts them.
What happened to “nothing about us, without us,” Mr. Bickley?
There is inaccurate information regarding the sub-minimum wage laws and certificates, false information regarding the laws and actions in other states regarding sub-minimum wage and employment trends for people with intellectual disabilities.