fair labor standards

The Price of the Wage Gap

In the United States it is completely legal to pay disabled workers sub-minimum wages. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows employers to decide their employee’s wage according to their abilities and have no bottom limit on thier wage.

Wages under FLSA are below the minimum wage with most paying half the minimum wage. Many employers pay only ten percent of the minimum or less.

Disabled workers who find mainstream jobs are still paid only 64%-86% as much as other workers. This results in an annual $23,000 loss, enough to buy 25 Macbooks.

Tell your candidates to call for an end to subminimum wages!

Right now in the United States, 228,600 workers are being paid subminimum wages because they are disabled. Despite this being a clearly discriminatory practice, a section of The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 known as Section 14© allows certain employers to waive subminimum wages. We’ve come a long way since the 1930’s, and it’s time to end discriminatory practices towards workers on the basis of disability. 

Call, write, email, and tweet your candidates TODAY to ask them to support an END to subminimum wages for workers with disabilities!

If you need help coming up with something to say, here’s what we suggest saying:

“Dear [candidate/campaign], 

I am a [disabled worker/friend of someone who is disabled/family member of someone disabled/a concerned supporter of your campaign] who is concerned about discriminatory wage practices. Right now in the United States, Section 14© of the Fair Labor Standards Act allows people like [me/my loved one/some of my fellow supporters] to be paid less than minimum wage because of disability. This is unjust. 

Right now in the United States, 228,600 workers are being paid subminimum wages because they are disabled. Despite this being a clearly discriminatory practice, a section of The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 known as Section 14© allows certain employers to waive minimum wages. We’ve come a long way since the 1930’s, and it’s time to end unethical practices towards workers with disabilities. 

People with disabilities can and should be given opportunities to earn a fair wage. I ask that you publicly commit to ending subminimum wages for people with disabilities. Thank you, and good luck!”

And remember,

[ASAN logo and the words, “Nothing About Us Without Us”]

USA TODAY exclusive: Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills
Donald Trump casts himself as a protector of workers, but a USA TODAY Network investigation found hundreds – carpenters, dishwashers, painters, even his own lawyers – who say he didn’t pay them for their work.

During the Atlantic City casino boom in the 1980s, Philadelphia cabinet-builder Edward Friel Jr. landed a $400,000 contract to build the bases for slot machines, registration desks, bars and other cabinets at Harrah’s at Trump Plaza.

The family cabinetry business, founded in the 1940s by Edward’s father, finished its work in 1984 and submitted its final bill to the general contractor for the Trump Organization, the resort’s builder.

Edward’s son, Paul, who was the firm’s accountant, still remembers the amount of that bill more than 30 years later: $83,600. The reason: the money never came. “That began the demise of the Edward J. Friel Company… which has been around since my grandfather,” he said.

Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will “protect your job.” But a USA TODAY NETWORK analysis found he has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans, like the Friels, who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them.

At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.

Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York. Both cases were resolved by the companies agreeing to pay back wages.

In addition to the lawsuits, the review found more than 200 mechanic’s liens — filed by contractors and employees against Trump, his companies or his properties claiming they were owed money for their work — since the 1980s. The liens range from a $75,000 claim by a Plainview, N.Y., air conditioning and heating company to a $1 million claim from the president of a New York City real estate banking firm. On just one project, Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, records released by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1990 show that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time, including workers who installed walls, chandeliers and plumbing.

The actions in total paint a portrait of Trump’s sprawling organization frequently failing to pay small businesses and individuals, then sometimes tying them up in court and other negotiations for years. In some cases, the Trump teams financially overpower and outlast much smaller opponents, draining their resources. Some just give up the fight, or settle for less; some have ended up in bankruptcy or out of business altogether.

Trump and his daughter Ivanka, in an interview with USA TODAY, shrugged off the lawsuits and other claims of non-payment. If a company or worker he hires isn’t paid fully, the Trumps said, it’s because The Trump Organization was unhappy with the work.


Similar cases have cropped up with Trump’s facilities in California and New York, where hourly workers, bartenders and wait staff have sued with a range of allegations from not letting workers take breaks to not passing along tips to servers. Trump’s company settled the California case, and the New York case is pending.


Trump frequently boasts that he will bring jobs back to America, including Tuesday in a primary-election night victory speech at his golf club in suburban New York City. “No matter who you are, we’re going to protect your job,” Trump said Tuesday. “Because let me tell you, our jobs are being stripped from our country like we’re babies.”

But the lawsuits show Trump’s organization wages Goliath vs David legal battles over small amounts of money that are negligible to the billionaire and his executives — but devastating to his much-smaller foes.

Trump Lawsuits, via USA Today:

This USA Today story should dispel the notion that Donald Trump is a “champion for the Working Class” and is in reality just another Mitt Romney who preys upon people.

Full Story here

The Minimum Wage Exemption for Students is Totally Unfair

The Fair Labor Standards Act specifically carves out rules that allow employers to pay teenagers and full-time students less for the same work.

Teenagers get the shortest end of the stick. In areas where the federal minimum is the prevailing wage, employers are allowed to pay employees under 20 years of age a minimum of $4.25 an hour. For those keeping score at home, that’s adds up less than $9,000 a year, assuming a 40-hour work week. Sure, there are some restrictions: employers are only allowed to pay that wage for the first 90 days of employment, and then the usual minimum applies. And employers aren’t allowed to displace other workers to hire teenagers at a lower wage. But still: imagine working full-time for an entire 12-week summer and going back to school barely $2,000 richer for it—and that’s before taxes. Unless your state has a higher minimum wage, that’s all that federal law guarantees you as a teenager.