@RealChangeNews – help us understand

 

Please, Councilmember Upthegrove, explain to us all how someone who will only be working 8 hours or less a week will enable them to make enough money to have the “independence everyone wants”

Please review the JLARC report and evaluate the changes that have already occurred before blasting ahead with more changes which will eliminate jobs and opportunities for many in this vulnerable population community.

October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month (#NDEAM).  With this, let us not forget about Person-Centered Planning and Individual Choice.

Evelyn Perez, Assistant Secretary for Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)  in Washington State, has started off every presentation I have seen her in the past couple of years with “We are Person-Centered and provide individual choices”  Maybe she does not understand the policies of some of the supports and services in DDA – particularly that of EMPLOYMENT FIRST in Washington State.

We believe people have choices and Washington state denies people their rights in regards to employment and community supports under DDA.  In March 2012, Washington State Legislature passed restrictive legislation with regards to employment.

Employment needs to be the first choice for adults of working age.  If after 9 months they are not satisfied and had an unsuccessful job search, only then may they request a transition to the community access program.  These are two mutually exclusive support services regardless of how few hours a person may utilize.  There is only one service option at a time.

“Please remember that Employment First does not say that people with disabilities have to work at a community job.  They can still work at a facility based program or workshop, or not work at all if that is what they really want to do.”  RTC on Community Living video “What is Employment First?

WAC 388-828-9335

How does DDA determine your employment service level?

DDA determines your employment service level using the following table:

If your

employment

support level in WAC 388-828-9205 is:

And your

employment

status in WAC 388-828-9330 is:

Then your employment service level is: And your employment service hours per month are:
None Working A 0
Working at sub-minimum wage or in job development B 0
Low Working C 4
Working at sub-minimum wage or in job development D 7
Medium Working E 7
Working at sub-minimum wage or in job development F 9
High Working G 11
Working at sub-minimum wage or in job development H 12

 

 

 

Where are the evaluations?

Shaun Bickley “an autistic person who organized a campaign to end subminimum wage in Seattle” turned down the choice to work in a sheltered workshop when he was younger while living in Texas.  It’s great that he had the choice and is employable – he currently works for The Arc of King County in Seattle, WA.

While Bickley flips a page that lists  “over 80 organizations that have signed on in support”  (see link). I am curious if any of them know the full story, have heard of evaluations that have been done in states which have eliminated special certificates or that people in Seattle lost work hours – due to this type of legislation.

There is more to the issue than the wage and the fact that these advocates do not understand or acknowledge that supported employment, while a wonderful opportunity, is costly to sustain.  This is clearly evident in the fact that their Fiscal Note states “No fiscal impact”.  How do they propose employing all these people in supported employment without a fiscal impact?

There needs to be a lot of answers here before moving forward with anymore legislation of this kind.

The following information is taken from Morningside’s Website 

How does Morningside’s Supported Employment Program Work?

After a careful assessment of an individual’s skills and vocational interests, a Morningside job developer will conduct a job search in the community, assisting prospective employers in the identification of appropriate jobs and tasks to meet the needs of their specific businesses. A comprehensive job analysis is conducted to ensure a good employer/employee match. An applicant is referred followed by a job interview, after which the final hiring decision is the employer’s.

How is Morningside Involved After the Placement?

Employment specialists, or job coaches, assist new employees with a comprehensive job orientation, followed by on-going, individualized training and assistance to promote satisfactory work performance on an as-needed basis. They may also provide job modification assistance to employers, disability awareness training for co-workers, or job retention services to the employee and business on a long term basis.

What Reasonable Accommodations will I be Expected to Make for my New Employee and What will They Cost?

The employment specialist may analyze job tasks, restructure how specific job tasks are completed or teach tasks differently to best fit employer/employee needs. Most accommodations cost nothing at all and, in most cases, the employment specialist’s time is free to the employer.

Who pays Morningside (and other agencies? According to the Fiscal note it appears there is no cost.

How can the fiscal note be ZERO?

“Bottom Dollars”, a documentary on sub-minimum wage and sheltered workshops produced by @rootedinrights and Disability Rights Washington, has a statement which tells the truth about the situation –

“If people are given the proper services and supports and proper assistive technology, the sky is the limit for many, many individuals”  – For some reason, this critical statement is not mentioned in any reference to the documentary or supported employment.

Supported employment offers wonderful opportunities to disabled employees and benefits to the employers and our community.  Unfortunately, just as “Bottom Dollars” states, the proper services and supports are needed.  This means FUNDS.  For some reason, advocates, legislators and community members forget about this cornerstone to supported employment  which ensures supported employment to be successful and sustainable.

Microsoft, has developed a “SE -Toolkit” and has a wonderful outlook regarding the benefits to all of hiring people with disabilities. The videos on the site have examples of some wonderful success stories and it is terrific to see disabled people working and enjoying their jobs in the communities.

The information below is from the Microsoft Supported Employment FAQ webpage

Who pays the Supported Employees and their coaches?

Employers do not pay a fee to the coaching agencies. Coaches work for employment coaching agencies, which are usually non-profits funded by government entities. In Washington, the primary government funders are the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and county Divisions of Developmental Disabilities.
Supported Employees are paid by their employer. The expectation is that vendors will hire Supported Employees within existing labor budgets within the Real Estate and Facilities scope. Vendors hire Supported Employees for roles that they need to fill.

How do job seekers with I/DD find out about Supported Employment opportunities with Microsoft RE&F vendors?

When a vendor has a job opening for a Supported Employee, the program manager notifies the coaching agency partners. The agencies determine which individuals are best suited and qualified for the specific job opening, and assist those individuals with applying, interviewing, onboarding, and ongoing job coaching.
Candidates for employment should contact one of our partner agencies. See the earlier topic, “Who are the primary partners in the Microsoft RE&F Supported Employment Program” for more information, or download our employment agency list.

Washington State Sub-minimum wage HB 1706

Here we go again discussing the issue of what the Special Certificates really are and what the subminimum wage really is.  HB 1706 is the bill that will be heard in the Washington State Labor and Workplace Standards Committee on February 11, 2019. (meeting cancelled due to weather)

For those people who are working for a special wage under a special certificate, eliminating this choice and option will essentially eliminate their job.  The Special Certificate allows a special wage (not be be confused with a sub-minimum hourly wage) for a specific job and specific amount of work.  It is not a wage based on an hourly rate.  This also means that when one hears stories of people making “pennies an hour” one is led to believe that people are slaving away with a whip over their head being exploited and coerced to work.

Yes, Seattle passed legislation this past year eliminating special certificates.  The legislation also eliminated the opportunity of ANYONE with a disability to work as an “apprentice, learner or messenger.”  This greatly discriminates against disabled in taking jobs in these categories.  This legislation was passed based on false information, lack of input from those directly affected and caused people to lose precious hours being integrated in their community.  Essentially – the opposite of what law,makers were told.

Currently, we have much more critical issues to address with regards to appropropriate supports for our vulnerable population which actually will affect the health and safety of many, many people in our state.  Now is not the time to address this issue which has had very little research or evaluation done in states (or cities) that have eliminated these special certificates.

Now is the time to sit back on this, evaluate and assess what has already occurred and how those affected have weathered the changes – it is not the time to create more havoc and crisis in our lives.

I fully support paying everyone a fair and just wage.  I also know that for our population with profound disabilities, their job alone is not the only income they have to support themselves and the great majority of people in this population work less than 11 hours a week (DDA Caseload)

As a fiber artist, I spend hours and hours on one project.  The price I sell a piece for is far less than “pennies an hour” for my work.  I would imagine that any artist will tell you the same thing.  Some jobs are not paid by the hour but by the product.

Special Certificates for Special Wages are not for jobs that are paid on an hourly wage but for jobs that are paid by the product.

#subminimumwage

 

Vigilante Justice

When I got home from work last night, my husband handed me the New York Times and told me to read the Opinion Essay written by David Brooks titled

The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture

“Once you adopt binary thinking in which people are categorized as good or evil, once you give random people the power to destroy lives without any process, you have taken a step toward the Rwandan genocide.”

bullying.jpeg

 

It really was good timing given the events of the day.  I had found out that SB,  a person who identifies as the Co-Chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities had written a scathing letter about me to the CEO/President of the company that employs me.  My job has nothing at all to do with my volunteer work with this blog or with my volunteer advocacy work so the only reason that Bickley would have to write such as letter would be harassment and abuse.

Since I had to file a police report on November 3, 2018 for cyberbullying and libel due to another public essay written by SB,  I have not seen or heard anything from this person.  Why the sudden letter writing campaign now?  What is the purpose of the harassment and what does SB have to gain by abusing and bullying others?

There is one word which could have nipped all this abuse in the bud – ACCOUNTABILITY.   Unfortunately, when my encounters with SB started, SB refused to be accountable and continues to refuse – instead fabricating actions of abuse from others and claiming to be a victim from all the ableist people in our communities.

Intimidation concept.

 

Now, SB has also solicited a friend, Jennifer White, CEO of Able Opportunities to also write a letter to the CEO/President of my employer.  I have never met Ms. White nor have I ever had any contact with her.  She also wrote that she did not know me but asked if I was using these “bullying tactics with Mr. Bickley, how is she interacting with other vulnerable adults with disabilities who receive services at your hospital?

Now, again, with the escalation of abuse and threats written by SB in this recent letter, another police report will be filed, legal counsel will be retained and there may be court interventions.

Responsibility highlighted in green

It is shameful that things have been allowed to get so out of control.  The issues are not new and many people have reported complaints of abuse, harassment, stalking and other behaviors of SB to the City of Seattle.

Mayor Durkan did not reappoint SB to his Commission seat and SB then solicited the Commission to appoint them to a Commission seat and also to re-appoint them to the co-chair position in August 2018.  September 21, 2018, SB was “voted out of committee” for this Commission seat despite several people providing public testimony against this appointment.

Typically, once a Commission Appointee is “voted out of committee”  they are officially appointed by the Full Council the next council meeting.  The other Commission Appointee from the September 21, 2018 committee meeting was appointed on October 1, 2018.  To this date, SB has not been appointed by the City Council identifies as the Co-Chair of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities and writes letters with that title.

It’s one thing to be called out for something one actually did but when one is “called out” for false allegations against you that is cyberbullying/libel.  It’s a whole different ball game.

NPR Invisibilia Podcast episode

 

Activist or Advocate? Seattle Style.

I have come to realize that when an activist is unable to address questions about issues, the activist digresses to personal attacks that have nothing to do with the issues.  This is a diversionary tactic to distract the public from the truth.  It often works or they wouldn’t use this tactic.   The so-called personal attacks could be totally made up (as most are in this situation) or a major twisting of the objective truth.

Case in point – issues of the sub-minimum wage ban in Seattle.  The Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities instituted this rule change and subsequent legislation without listening to concerns in the community.   It’s difficult to separate the Commission from the current Co-Chair, Shaun Bickley since Bickley self-identifies as the person who got this ban in place.  If people credit the Commission, Bickley becomes upset that his name was not mentioned as the person responsible.  This is why many of the issues I address are written about/to Bickley since he was the person answering for the Commission.  This is not a personal issue about Bickley himself, but Bickley, acting as Co-Chair of the Commission and as a public servant for the City of Seattle.

As far as I’m concerned, any one of the Commissioners could answer but they have left it to Bickley to do the talking.  So, my calling out Bickley is only because Bickley is the one doing the communicating for the Commission.

But, Bickley, has made it a personal issue against him, when in fact,  it’s not about him at all but the issues.  I have only been trying to get a conversation on the issues.  Bickley writes as if I have been trying to invade his personal life – I know nothing about the person, his life, and have never tried to contact him personally outside of the Commission.  The fact that Bickley seems to think that the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities is his personal domain (Facebook and meetings) is a problem.

Bickley blocked me from the Commission Facebook page (he does state this himself) and that was a violation of the First Amendment.  Bickley claims that I cried ‘censorship” when he blocked me from contacting him.  The way he writes this it appears that he blocked me from his personal page and I got upset about that.  I have no idea since I have never gone to his personal page and never tried to contact him personally.  He did block me from the Commission page but that is not HIS page – it is a City Commission page and yes, that was a concern.  Bickley does not seem to be able to distinguish between himself and the Commission.

Bickley recently posted a long diatribe for Autism Speaking Day 2018 on his friends, Kassiane Asasumasu’s blog “Radical Neurodivergence Speaking”.  This essay is an exercise in narcissistic victimization delusions.  When I informed Kassiane Asasumasu of the libelous essay, she wrote ” It’s not libel when it’s true. It’s the best sourced item I’ve ever published.”  Maybe Kassiane Asasumasu never checks sources if she believes this nonsense too.  

For documentation and clarification of letters I have sent to The Arc of King County (Bickley’s place of employment which he claims I have visited and contacted many times asking for his removal).  Bickley also claims that I have shown up in person at his job to demand my dismissal, as well as at meetings he attends – including Commission meetings.    Yes, I have attended Commission meetings and one SAIL meeting with my disabled son but have never shown up at his place of employment regarding anything having to do with him.   These are public meetings for disability advocacy.  The Arc of King County is an advocacy agency for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities – something that I have been involved in for over 20 years.

Letter to Ramona Hattendorf, The Arc of King County, regarding the abusive response at a public meeting by Co-Chair Bickley – May 2018

Correspondence with Ramona Hattendorf regarding issues with Seattle Commission and explanation of events which have occured. June 2018

Bickley writes – she “tried to physically prevent me from exiting the Commission room, probably hoping to entrap me into shoving past her to escape so she could claim to be attacked by the big bad autistic.”

This statement is clearly a fabrication.  I left the room with the Office of Civil Rights Liaison, who is also heard on the recording saying “Shaun, back up”, and Bickley was nowhere near me at the time.  He was still in the Boardroom talking with others when Marta and I left the room in conversation.

Letter sent via blind cc to all those who submitted public comments to OLS May 2018 – I assume that the person that Bickley refers to has partner in this comment “She’s contacted many others, advocates and friends, including my partner, to warn them what a terrible person I am.” maybe one of the 70 people on this list.  This was also the only email that I EVER sent to Bickley’s personal email (except for the reply to his “cease & desist” letter)

Correspondence with Ramona Hattendorf, The Arc of King County, regarding the letter by sbickley@thearcofkingcounty.org regarding elimination of sub-minimum wage statewide – October 2018

As a follow up, the false accusations and libelous comments posted and shared on many Social Media sites regarding not only issues with me but with other disability advocates who have questioned him, are acts of aggression and harassment.

Bickley has NO evidence of the accusation he has fabricated and so the tactic is to make personal attacks and take on the abused victim role.  All I can say is that must be a very sad place to be and a sad place to see the world from.   I do hope that someone is able to talk with him and help him to come to grips with reality but given what I have learned about those with this type of personality disorder, it rarely happens unless that person can acknowledge fact.

And, Bickley, if you are reading this, please do provide supporting documentation for your claims because I have not seen the evidence.  Also, please discuss the issues as I have requested over and over again.