HB 1706 – Elimination of Special Certificates

Below is a copy of an email to sponsors of this bill that was heard today in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee.   This bill is being heard without an understanding of the full impact and pushed “as the right thing to do”.  I’m sorry, but we have already seen how policies driven by ideology with little regard to facts, evaluation and assessment of changes has contributed to our current and continued crisis in the supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
It’s time to stop the charades, work together and come to real, sustainable solutions that best benefit the most people.  HB 1706 is not one of those solutions.
Collaboration concept in word tag cloud

As a sponsor of HB 1706 I am writing you this email with information regarding the discrimination of this bill by denying the opportunity of any disabled person to work as an apprentice, learner or messenger.  By eliminating the special certificates for people with disabilities, the other jobs are also denied.  Apprenticeship, learners and messengers can be great jobs for people with certain disabilities and it’s shameful to deny those choices.

As stated in the documentary “Bottom Dollars” produced by Disability Rights Washington and Rooted in Rights  – “If people are given the proper services and supports and proper assistive technology, the sky is the limit for many, many individuals”  I truly believe this – unfortunately, HB 1706 does not address any of the issues of support – just the wage.  Do not pass HB 1706 until all the issues are addressed and planned as is recommended in research by national agencies.

Supported Employment is great – it can open up many opportunities for people.  It needs funding to be successful and this bill does not address the issue of supporting funds for job coaches, job development, job training or transition planning.  It only looks at eliminating the special certificates.  Eliminating special certificates without addressing the critical issue of funding supported employment/integrated employment for this population will result in a crisis.  This population is already involved in a crisis situation with lack of caregivers and supported living with many people stuck in hospitals with no place to go.  Passing this bill at this time is not in the best interest of anyone.

It is interesting to note that not one research report of any advocacy agency recommends immediate elimination of certificates.  A well planned and funded transition is needed for a stable and sustainable integrated supported employment opportunities.  There is nothing in this bill that addresses any issues regarding transition.  It has been stated that a rapid elimination would actually be detrimental to our population.

Elimination of special certificates without taking into consideration the other issues involved will only result in job loss.  It will not increase the employment opportunities nor will it mean that those with disabilities will now make a living wage. When a person is only able to work 10 hours a week, minimum wage will not allow them to be self-supporting.

In Seattle, the legislation caused people to lose hours at their jobs.  Yes, their wages increased but their hours decreased.  For some of these people their job was also their opportunity to be integrated in the community – with the loss of hours, their community integration opportunity decreased too. A question asked in today’s public hearing by Representative Mosbruker was regarding an evaluation of what has happened in places that have eliminated the special certificate.  This is a very critical question that also needs to be answered before moving forward.  There is information available on this for New Hampshire, Maine and some other states – I would be more than happy to provide links to you.

In Seattle, there were 8 people who were working under a Special Certificate – 6 at Ballard Locks were working 5 hours a day had their hours cut to 3 hours a day, the person at Ballard Lutheran had her hours cut from 15 hours a week to 12 hours a week and the person at Ballard Market was working 6 hours a week and did not have hours cut but the manager express concern about being able to hire employees with significant intellectual/developmental disabilities in the future.  It should be noted that none of these employees needed 1:1 job support for their jobs.

I did not hear anyone testify about the support needs for those involved in integrated employment or talk about the number of hours these employees may work a week or the coordination of supports (transportation, housing, personal needs support)  needed to be employed.  These are all critical issues that need discussion before a bill such as this is passed.

Again, as an example, my son who lives in Supported Living also has supported employment.  He works 9 hours a week at Lowe’s and makes $16.59 an hour.  This means that his gross wages are $597 per month.  He also receives SSI which is reduced due to his wages so overall his income is roughly $900.00.  He needs to pay rent, utilities, groceries and all living expenses from that $900.00.

The County (through DDA) pays the employment vendor about $2400.00 a month to provide the support to my son for his 1:1 job support.  What have you heard about the funding for these integrated jobs for people like my son who needs 1:1 support to be employed in an integrated community setting?  While the employer is paying the employee minimum wage, someone needs to pay the job coach or there is no job at all.

Please do not pass HB 1706 at this time.  Yes, fair and equitable wages are important but in order to have fair and equitable wages in an integrated setting we need to look at the whole picture.

At the risk of continued personal assaults from one of the people testifying today, I feel obligated to inform people of the consequences of taking such rash actions without a full understanding and acknowledgement of the various issues involved in coordination of supports. It was not a collaborative process at all with Shaun Bickley (he was co-chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities) taking the helm and violating the First Amendment by censoring and blocking comments from constituents to the Seattle Commission and later writing libelous comments about others and most recently commiting fraud, conspiracy and interference with contractual relations with regards to my work as a registered nurse.  This is all in retaliation against me for trying to have accountability and transparency in the process of the elimination of special certificates in Seattle.

I would be more than happy to provide information on national research regarding the issue of special certificates and special wages, integrated and supported employment and transition planning to ensure sustainability and success.

Thank you for your concern and attention to this critical issue.  

Apprenticeships Help People with Disabilities – but not in Seattle

Great News for Job Development and Training with Apprenticeships – but unfortunately, not in Seattle.

I have been an advocate of apprenticeship programs for many years – not just for those with disabilities but for everyone who would be interested in this type of training to develop job skills.

The US Department Labor Department – Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has contracted with Social Policy Research Associates (SPR)  to develop up to four pilot apprenticeship worksites.  One of these sites is Apprenti in Redmond, WA.

(see the article from SHRM regarding an announcement of this program.)

Unfortunately, there has been recent legislation in Seattle which prohibits people with Disabilities to work as an “apprentice, learner or messenger” – regardless of the pay.  This discriminatory legislation was instituted by the work of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities and the Office of Labor Standards.

The rule change and subsequent legislation were rushed through a process without conversations and collaboration with those in our community.  There were violations of the First Amendment by the Seattle Commission which greatly impacted the outcome of this legislation.

There was little insight into how this rule change would affect those who were actually impacted and the wording in the new law (which was to remove discriminatory practices) actually is more discriminatory by the current wording.

Below is the wording of the legislation for SHRR 90-050 – Learners, apprentices, messengers, workers with a disability from the Seattle Office of Labor Standards Minimum Wage Rules. 

2. Issuance of special certificates

  • a. The Director may issue special certificates to pay a subminimum wage for learners, apprentices, and messengers as described in RCW 49.46.060
  • b. The Director shall not issue special certificates to pay a subminimum wage for people with disabilities as described in RCW 49.46.060.

Apprenti – Redmond, WA –  indicates that their training wage at least 60% of fully-qualified regular employees; then a  raise to at least 70% and after 6 months, at-will.   If this is the case with this pilot program, no employees in Seattle will be able to participate due to the legislation regarding people with disabilities.

Again,  issues such as this could have been alleviated if the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities allowed discourse with community self-advocates and other disability advocates who were affected.

If the haste of this rule change and subsequent legislation had been made public and shared, if the Commission had allowed discussions to take place, if the Commission had listened to what the community members were saying, we could have had a law written that did not discriminate against those with disabilities.

The Commission for People with Disabilities, of all Commission, should be responsive to the needs of the disabled community.  In this situation, they were not and ended up taking away choices for those they are to serve.

 

Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics Summary (Bureau of Labor Statistics – United States Department of Labor)

see post “Haste Makes Waste – Seattle Style” for more information on this issue

Appreciating Diversity at Home

Thomas with his map of where staff are from

Thomas had a terrific time on this outing and is really happy with his new map.  One of the reasons he likes it so much is because it’s the same map we had on our wall at home while he and his siblings were all there growing up.

He emailed me many times telling me that he was going to take the bus downtown to Pike Place Market, go out to lunch and the map store with Craig.

About as soon as he got home he sent me the following email:

“Dear mommimahd a great time on the bus with creg today “

I love the emails that Thomas sends me – many times it takes quite a bit of deciphering but it’s really worth it.  Being able to use an iPad has greatly benefited him and provided him with several ways to communicate and interact with his community.

Appreciating Diversity contributed by Craig

I just happened to find this post on the Alpha Supported Living Services Website.  It made me feel really happy to see this written up and shared with others.

Endorsing a Bully

Disability Rights Washington is presenting their “Breaking Barriers” awards fundraiser this month.  Below is information from the Disability Rights Washington Website which describes this award.

Ex-Commissioner (Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities) Shaun Bickley, was chosen as the recipient for the Advocacy Award.  There are many of us in the disability community who have been victims of Shaun Bickley’s online malicious and cruel attacks, slander and libel.  We are upset about Bickley’s violations of the First Amendment as a Commissioner, falsified data and information Bickley presented to the Commission, the previous Mayor, the previous Director of the  Office of Labor Standards and the Seattle City Council.

In addition to the above allegations (all well documented in public records), Bickley had extreme disregard for the by-laws and code of conduct of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities.  In fact, after Mayor Durkan did not re-appoint Bickley to the Commission, Bickley took it upon himself to return to the Commission the next month and have himself voted in as the co-chair with a Commission appointed seat.  Bickley continues to refer to himself as the Co-Chair of the Commission despite not being appointed by the City Council.  This is a violation of the by-laws but evidently, Bickley is not held accountable to those by-laws.

“Bully”  is the least offensive description that many who have encountered Shaun Bickley use to describe his actions towards others.

How has it come to be that a BULLY is being honored as a recipient of this “Breaking Barriers” award?

 2018 DRW Breaking Barriers Awards! 

September 29, 2018

Each year, Disability Rights Washington presents its Breaking Barriers Awards.  These prestigious awards honor a business, an elected official or public servant, and an advocate with a disability for breaking barriers to advance the rights of and improve the lives of people with disabilities in Washington State. Specifically, Disability Rights Washington will present the following awards:

  • Advocacy Award
  • Public Policy Award
  • Business Leader Award

Advocacy Award

Disability Rights Washington presents this award to an advocate with a disability who has made significant contributions in the past year to advance the rights of people with disabilities in Washington State.

Breaking Barriers 2018 - Shaun Bickley

 

Shaun Bickley – “Breaking” Barriers

I was not at this meeting but I do believe there was chaos present given what I have witnessed and experienced at past meetings.
So many questions and concerns about Bickley – reading how he is disturbed by others who may not show behavior of respect and professionalism, I clearly remember the first in-person interaction I had with him.  Bickley, himself needs some lessons in being a professional and a public servant – volunteer or not, disabled or not.
Public Facebook Post this evening –

This is the email I sent Evan Philip in the Mayor’s Office, CM Lisa Herbold and her staffmember Shannon Perez-Darby, and Interim Director of OCR Mariko Lockhart.

I’m at my wit’s end with the city standing behind misogynists and white supremacists but bristling at the slightest criticism of their policies. Despite the work we have been able to accomplish, several of us are ready to quit after today if the city can’t deal with these issues and provide competent staff support.

*****

To all concerned,

I want to continue to express my disbelief at the city’s unwillingness to provide support to the Disability Commission, and its ongoing support of white supremacist, misogynist, and ableist behavior.

I don’t know how many Commissioners have to come forward and complain about misogyny and white supremacy from Mayoral and Council-appointments before the city takes it seriously. Apparently six isn’t enough. Ten? Fifteen?

Today I witnessed ChrisTiana ObeySumner co-chair by themselves while two older white men screamed at them, interrupted, and corrected them. At one point Eric Scheir began screaming at the top of his lungs at ChrisTiana, threatening to sue. People left the room,. Mr. Scheir is perfectly aware of his ability to physically intimidate women and non-binary people by screaming at the top of his lungs, and if he isn’t, he is unqualified to serve on the Commission. I can tell you he would be fired from any job I have ever had for that kind of behavior.

Jayson Morris is a Council-appointed Commissioner. Six Commissioners have complained about his behavior, the Co-Chair and the Director of OCR had a meeting with him to address his behavior, and the Co-Chairs wrote Councilmember Herbold about him on June 8. Nothing has happened. Eric Scheir is a Mayoral appointment who has exhibited this kind of narcissistic, racist, and misogynistic behavior since before he was appointed. Nothing has happened.

At what point do I assume that individuals acting as agents of white supremacy and misogyny, on behalf of the Mayor and City Council, are simply carrying out the will of those entities? Especially since Meg Bartosovsky and I were removed without even being spoken to because of our advocacy on the Commission. There is a pattern here, and it’s that white supremacists and eugenicists are given every chance and every opportunity to thrive, but developmentally disabled advocates who question the city are removed post haste.

Six Commissioners signed a letter asking for Marta Idowu to be replaced in her position as Commission liaison. Today, while this screaming rant happened, Marta did nothing. What “support” is OCR providing if they don’t address violence within the meetings, don’t keep order, don’t address micro and macroaggressions, and can’t even keep accurate minutes?

My peers voted to appoint me into a Commission-based seat and for me to continue on as co-Chair. I would love to continue the great work we have done, work the City has praised and been credited for, but I sat in that meeting feeling physically unsafe as a man screamed his lungs out at us with the full backing of the Mayor and City Council, and I’ve seen the disparate treatment we receive when we bring light to these issues.

I don’t know how many time I can ask that someone–the Mayor’s Office, OCR, the City Council–take responsibility for the situation it has created: to deal with violent Commissioners and to provide competent staff support to our meetings.

Thanks for listening,
Shaun Bickley
Co-Chair, Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities

Shaun Bickley For the record, it’s been 3 weeks and I still haven’t been given a reason why I wasn’t reappointed (and Meg Bartosovsky STILL hasn’t been told even as little as I have–they removed her without a word). I don’t expect this administration to reappoint me at this point, but I do expect them to be professional about it and to stop supporting racist, misogynistic, and ableist behavior.

 

Transcript of conversation between Cheryl Felak, disabled community advocate and Shaun Bickley, Co-Chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities

May 17, 2018

This “discussion” took place at Seattle City Hall at a public meeting

Cheryl Felak statements     Shaun Bickley statements

I’m banned because you don’t agree with my opinion, my questions have not been answered I’ve just been told I’m a liar, 

  • You’re abusive

Huh

  • You’re abusive – you’re banned because you’re abusive

I’m abusive?  So what has been abusive about what I’ve said?

  • Calling people low functioning

I did not do that

  • Harassing people okay – I don’t really– I don’t really like – what is your point? Why are you here?

My point is that I would like to have some information shared with some facts

  • And I have told you repeatedly and you’ve said it’s a lie – you’ve been answered – you did a public disclosure request you already have the information that you asked for – did you pay for it- did you pick it up

Yes I have and I’d like to

  • Ok great –

 Tell you there’s information

  • Can you please not get in my face because you’re way too close to my personal space

Okay I’ll stand back

  • Thank you

I’d like to tell you that there was information and facts that were not shared with the commission and with others about jobs and yes, I understand supported employment – do you understand about transportation, what it costs, training, job development, job skill development was any of that

  • Yes – what’s your point

My point is – was that addressed by this commission

  • (Exasperated exhale and long pause) – uh we have two legal certificates – you understand the Northwest Center wasn’t – right

I understand that – I’m not talking about the Northwest Center – I’m talking about the special certificates

  • Right

Were the issues of job skill development, job coaches?

  • Yes

That was all discussed in this commission in relation to elimination

  • So let me

Let me finish my sentence – in relation to elimination of those certificates – was that discussed and how that was going to be taken into consideration

  • It’s not a factor because they consented and they agreed to keep those people at their level. We had two people – this isn’t like Texas where there were 121 certificates – we had 2

You haven’t answered my question yet

  • YES WE DISCUSSED IT AND WE DISCUSSED THAT THERE WEREN’T ANY BARRIERS WE WERE READY TO GO and so listen I really need you to understand, now listen I need you to understand, now listen

Now you back up

  • No

You’re in my space

  • I’m not in your space

City of Seattle Liaison “Shaun back up”

Back up

  • Ok we’re done – Good-bye

Ok – thank you

  • You’re abusive – I don’t need to speak to you, I’m a volunteer,

I’m a volunteer

  • FUCK YOU – GO FUCK YOURSELF – I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YO

Bickley fabricates stories which border on delusional thought patterns.  

The list of the “great work” includes

  • Spearheading violations of the First Amendment by the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities

 

  • Spearheading the rule change and legislation to eliminate special certificates – essentially making it impossible for people with disabilities to have any sort of integrated/independent job within Seattle. 

 

  • While being non-binary and dogmatic in using pronouns of they/them (by the way, non-binary is not a disability) Bickley, is unyielding in his binary labels of disabled vs “the abled” 

 

  • Bickley and the whole Seattle Disability Commission should be gutted and started with a fresh set of people who do not have the extreme biases, hate speech and abuse the current commission roster chooses to utilize.  

 

Let’s get some people who know how to collaborate and work together and really break barriers-

Not this renegade group of activists. 

The Ableds (or Allistics/Allists)

The Ableds (or Allistics/Allists) – anyone who is not autistic.  The Ableds are named as the root of most of the problems that autistic people face in society.  The Ableds are said to go out of their way to make life harder for autistic people.  The Ableds do not understand autistic people.  The Ableds are evil and are only self-serving.  The Ableds are for eugenics.  The Ableds. . . . .

Personally, I’m really tired of reading about “The Ableds” and reading about all they are doing to impinge on the lives of autistic people.

I’m not sure if autistic people have even thought about how the so-called “ableds” have actually been there providing support so that autistic people (and all the other disabled people – specifically those with intellectual and developmental disabilities) are not isolated in their homes – oops – that is an ableist statement.   How can one do anything that isn’t ableist in the eyes of these neurodiversity activists?  And though “the abled” may not be autistic, they may have other disabilities that affect their ability to engage in meaningful activities of their own.

Many of “the abled” devote their lives to supporting those with disabilities so that the disabled have opportunities they would not have without that support.

Many disabled people, if not most, live in collaboration with their “abled” caregivers and support people.  Some disabled people may be totally unaware that their support person has another life besides being there for support. because that “abled” person is devoting their life to support the disabled person.

What I find extremely discordant is that it seems that many of the people who identify as neurodiverse also identify as non-binary and prefer pronouns of they/them.   For being so unyielding about their non-binary identity they are also very dogmatic about calling anyone who is not autistic “Abled”.  There is no non-binary when it comes to Abled vs Disabled in their minds.

 

 

Fantasy of Inclusion

Take a moment to read this blog posting “Three Strikes… and He’s Out?

Wow – this is reality for many of our family and community members – this is why we become isolated.  Inclusion for us is a fantasy.

A recent comment made to me by a King County District Court Judge regarding taking my son to a self-advocacy meeting and a Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities meeting ;

“I think you took your son  there just to bother him”   (referring to the Autistic Activist who told me that guardians are all self-serving and every person is able to speak for themselves)

Thank you, Judge, for your understanding –  I do not take my son places to bother others – is that how you view INCLUSION, Judge?

Yes, I’m sure my son’s behavior does bother people and he is not able to be appropriate in many settings of inclusion.  Waiting in line, being patient, being quiet, sitting down, keeping hands to himself, are all very difficult things which take constant support to try to have a resemblance of “appropriate” behaviour.   It takes alot of energy to provide this constant support – one of the reasons that caregivers become isolated when ensuring people with disabilities are included.  We don’t want to bother others and it’s not fun for us to try to manage our son’s behaviors in places that are difficult for him – it’s always a balancing act with a needed escape route.

So, if you see us out in our community – we are not there to bother  or frighten you – we are there to try to give our son some meaningful experiences in life.