February 12th marks a historic day in the economic advancement of all people with disabilities with President Obama’s signing of an executive order raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors, including workers with disabilities, to $10.10/hour beginning in 2015. Prior to today’s announcement, people with disabilities employed by federal contractors could be paid a subminimum wage in accordance with Section 14(c), which advocates like National Disability Institute and its colleagues in the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination (CPSD) have long argued was not only discriminatory but keeps people with disabilities out of the economic mainstream.
At a time when nearly 1 in 3 Americans with disabilities lives in poverty, among the highest of poverty rate of any underserved population in America, the Obama Administration’s Executive Order gives every person with and without a disability the opportunity to build a more secure financial future for themselves and their families.
As the first national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to building a better economic future for all people with disabilities, National Disability Institute has advocated for and built awareness of initiatives and policiesthat promote economic self-sufficiency and financial capability for all people with and without disabilities. On February 4, 2014, National Disability Institute joined its fellow members of the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination – a coalition of 21 like-minded disability rights groups – and sent a letter to President Obama and the U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez calling on the Administration to include workers with disabilities in the president’s State of the Union announcement to raise minimum wage standards for all federally contracted workers.
NDI applauds the Obama Administration for this landmark executive order in the fight for a living wage for all Americans. Our fellow CPSD member, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), has started a petition to express the disability community’s appreciation to President Obama and Secretary Perez and to encourage them to stand with the disability community to convince Congress to end the subminimum wage for all workers with disabilities.