fair labor standards


(note: I’m not gonna talk about Trump mocking Serge Kovaleski primarily b/c Kovaleski does not ID as disabled and does not want to be used as a political talking point. Which is fair.  yes, it was awful. no, you don’t get brownie points for agreeing with me that it was awful. Disabled people have evolved to have thick skin, and a politician mocking us is not new or unsurprising. this list will deal with policy and specific issues facing the broader disability, autistic, d/Deaf//HoH, and neurodivergent communities.)

(other note: I generally use adjective-first language but I probably also used person-first language in here somewhere. I personally prefer to use the former for myself but I respect that other people in this community use different language.)

-the federal site for IDEA has been taken down

-all mentions of disability rights have been deleted from the website

-betsy devos had no idea what the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act was when asked and stated that standards for accommodations in education should be left up to the state (this is a TERRIBLE idea)

-if Obamacare is repealed, we have the most to lose. Most of us will not be able to afford medical expertise or treatment to maintain a basic quality of life. Some of us will die.

-he called one of his books Crippled America. Unironically. Ugh. 

-the january 2017 unemployment rate for nondisabled civilians was 4.9. For disabled civilians, it was 11.0. These numbers do not reflect the number of disabled individuals who work inadequate part time jobs, who are institutionalized, or have given up looking for work.

-the US still has not signed the UN documents about the rights of People with Disabilities. 

-Justices like Justice Kennedy have historically been swing votes on cases involving disabilities. Justices like Scalia have not. Potential Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch has a very ugly disability rights record, which includes defending a college that fired a professor undergoing chemo when she requested to give her lectures over skype (there was a flu going around on campus and being there would put the staff member in danger due to her suppressed immune system)

-By the time he was elected, Donald Trump had already dealt with at least eight lawsuits concerning lack of basic accessibility (ramps, braille) on his properties

-the Supreme Court case legalizing the sterilization of potentially disabled people without their consent (Buck v. Bell) has never been overturned and has been cited as a legal precedence in a lower court as recently as 2001.

-the Judge Rotenburg Center is still using painful electric shocks on disabled students as punishment, despite the FDA advising them to stop more than two years ago.

-similarly, many disabled people are not  paid federal minimum wage b/c section 14c of the “Fair Labor Standards Act” is still on the books and so hundreds of thousands of disabled peoples’ wages are “proportional” to their productivity (compared to an abled worker). Goodwill is one of the most famous companies that exploits this loophole.

-the already gutted SSDI program is even more at risk-Trump has spoken about emulating the British reforms for their disability program. Off the top of my head, I can think of nine or ten different people who died as a result of the recent “fit to work” assessments and bedroom requirements in the UK.

-disabled people depend on the Department of Justice’s civil rights division to enforce the ADA and protect us from blatant discrimination. Trump has already proven that he does not care about the funding or effectiveness of the department, and is willing to destabilize it to forward his political goals. 

-Donald Trump is anti-vax and is complacent to that movement’s violent and intolerable rhetoric surrounding autistic and other neurodivergent individuals

-Sessions called disabled children protected by federal laws (like IDEA) “the single most irritating problem for teachers throughout America today”. In this same statement, he stated that he did not “remember hearing of gun shootings prior to 1975 when Congress began telling ten percent of our students [they] are not responsible” (the IDEA was passed in 1975, improving the way disabled children were treated at public schools)

-the new administration’s refusal to address fatal police brutality is also an issue of disability rights, given that around half of victims shot by police officers are disabled or neurodivergent. (like eric garner, who had asthma) 

In case this list didn’t clue you in: the disabled community is scared. We don’t know what to expect from the next four years, we still haven’t come close to equality, and we are usually left to fight our battles alone. That’s why I’m asking whoever reads this to stand with the disability community against ableism and against policies that will kill us. People have done a great job in the past few weeks of expressing solidarity with muslims, immigrants, refugees, latinx people, LGBT people, and black people. And, honestly, that’s great. Thank you and please keep doing it. But also be aware that disabled people are one of the most vulnerable demographics right now, and be aware that we’re also one of the most ignored. We are made invisible by the media and by society too easily. Please, you have to see us and you have to stand with us. 

Looking back on history, it’s impossible not to notice that people with disabilities don’t fare well in authoritarian regimes. Please help us make this time different.

Stop letting powerful men silence victims with confidentiality agreements | Brad Hoylman
As long as we allow the Harvey Weinsteins of the world to pay off victims in exchange for silence, we leave all employees vulnerable
By Brad Hoylman

At least eight of the dozens of women he allegedly harassed not only had to endure the terror, confusion and humiliation as a consequence of Weinstein’s misconduct, but also were convinced to sign agreements drafted to protect Weinstein’s reputation by keeping them quiet. In consideration, they received hush money, but in the process they signed away important legal protections against sexual harassment in the workplace.

Silence is acquired. But at what cost? Silence begets more silence, giving predators the license to prey on new victims with little or no consequence. At the same time, accusers who speak up are ousted through settlements, often leaving their unknowing colleagues behind to become victims themselves.

This vicious cycle must stop.

When it comes to sexual assault and harassment, there should be no such thing as an open secret. Confidentiality agreements can play a legitimate role in business, protecting intellectual property, strategy and finances, but they should never be used to cover up illegal behavior like we’re seeing alleged in the Weinstein case. Moreover, employees should never be forced to sign away their rights. After all, what’s the point of strong labor laws if employees can’t take advantage of them?

Weinstein is certainly not the first powerful executive to prey on his employees. Nor is he the first to silence employees who threaten to reveal his incriminating and abusive behavior. As we’ve seen most recently with Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, non-disclosure agreements serve to institutionalize labor abuses at workplaces and allow employers to sweep allegations of wrongdoing under the rug.

For Weinstein and Fox News, both located in my senate district, settlement payouts seem to have been the cost of doing business.

In response, I’m introducing legislation in New York to ensure alleged predators like Weinstein, Ailes and O’Reilly can no longer negotiate the silence of their victims. Under my legislation, which I carry with Queens assemblywoman Nily Rozic, contracts that conceal abuse or waive an employee’s legal rights or remedies relating to a claim of discrimination, retaliation, or harassment would be deemed “unconscionable, void and unenforceable”.

As long as we allow the Harvey Weinsteins of the world to pay off victims in exchange for silence, we leave all employees vulnerable. Eliminating shady confidentiality clauses would help ensure fair labor standards, prevent workplace hazards and misconduct, and protect employee rights.

Settlement agreements with confidentiality clauses are another example of the power imbalance that fuels sexual harassment in the workplace. They serve predators and facilitators – and no one else.

In a system that too often vilifies victims and harbors powerful abusers at the expense of the safety and rights of employees, New York must declare once and for all that we won’t accept “open secrets” as the norm in any industry.

  • Senator Brad Hoylman is a Democrat representing Manhattan in the New York state senate

H. J. Res. 184, A Bill to Limit, Regulate, and Prohibit the Labor of Persons Under Eighteen Years of Age, 2/13/1924

Series: Bill Files, 1903 - 1968Record Group 233: Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789 - 2015

Congressman Israel Moore Foster introduced this joint resolution on February 13, 1924 to the 68th U.S. Congress. The resolution called for a Constitutional amendment to allow the federal government to “have the power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age,” including child millworkers like Furman Owens of Columbia, SC. It was adopted by both chambers of Congress and later became known as the Child Labor Amendment, but the amendment was never ratified by the required 38 states. Today, the main legislation regulating child labor is the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

“Furman Owens, 12 years old. Can’t read. Don’t know A, B, C’s. ‘Yes I want to learn but can’t when I work all the time.’ Been in mills 4 years, 3 years in Olympia Mill, Columbia, S.C.”, 1/16/1909
Series: National Child Labor Committee Photographs taken by Lewis Hine, ca. 1912 - ca. 1912

Learn about other attempts to amend the Constitution at the “Amending America” exhibit now at the National Archives Museum, and featured on Tumblr at @usnatarchivesexhibits!

Today’s post comes via Nora Sutton, one of our interns from the Department of State’s Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) program. Nora is finishing her Master’s in Public History at West Virginia University this semester. 

Much like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the falsely cloaked Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180/S. 801) would hurt, not help, working women and families. The Working Families Flexibility Act, a true misnomer if ever there was one, would in reality ensure that workers have less time, less flexibility and less money.

This anti-family proposal would force workers to spend more time away from their families in exchange for possibly getting to spend time later with their families. Under this proposal, the employer, not the employee, would determine when earned comp time can be used.

In other words, a low-wage working mother could be forced to work 50 hours one week during Spring Break when her children are off from school, and in exchange for that overtime work get 10 hours off another week when they are back in school. This may be flexibility for the employer, but it would cost the employee extra money for child care, less money in overtime earnings and less time with her family.

Low-wage workers frequently have to rely on their overtime earnings to make ends meet.

Employers currently steal billions of dollars annually from workers in unpaid overtime compensation. This proposal would make this problem even worse, because it would become easier for employers to avoid overtime compensation obligations. Although the bill provides the right to sue in court, low-wage workers lack the resources necessary to engage in costly and protracted litigation, and rightly fear retaliation or losing their jobs.

The bill would also allow employers to “cash out” an employee’s comp time over 80 hours or discontinue the comp time program altogether. This means an employee’s carefully crafted plan to bank time for a child’s birth or surgery could be thwarted by an employer’s decision to cash out the employee’s time or end the program. Under this proposal, there are also no protections for employees to receive the value of their earned comp time if their employer goes out of business or goes bankrupt.

Finally, workers already have some flexibility because of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Currently, employers can and some do allow employees to rearrange their schedules to fit in a school recital or doctor’s appointment. Employees who work a lot of overtime and don’t need more money can already be allowed to take unpaid days off.

Organized by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin (who had been involved in the Civil Rights movement since the early 1940s), the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was not only one of the largest political rallies in US history, but is cited as assisting in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Rustin was a long-time associate of both Randolph and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Randolph focused on building the march’s political coalition, while Rustin built and led the team of more than 200 activists and organizers who publicized the march and recruited the marchers, coordinated the buses and trains, and set up and administered all of the logistic details of a mass march in the nation’s capital.

While there were internal disagreements over the purpose and actions of the march, the organizers established the following goals:

- Passage of meaningful civil rights legislation;

- Immediate elimination of school segregation;

- A program of public works, including job training, for the unemployed;

- A Federal law prohibiting discrimination in public or private hiring; - A $2-an-hour minimum wage nationwide;

- Withholding Federal funds from programs that tolerate discrimination;

- Enforcement of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution by reducing congressional representation from States that disenfranchise citizens;

- A broadened Fair Labor Standards Act to currently excluded employment areas;

- Authority for the Attorney General to institute suits when constitutional rights are violated

Chicago and New York City (as well as some corporations) agreed to designate August 28 as “Freedom Day” and give workers the day off, and while the Kennedy Administration (who had initially tried to discourage the march) ultimately cooperated and provided a Justice Department liaison, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI tried to label the march as a Communist front, and Strom Thurmond (R-SC) publicly accused the March as a Communist-sponsored activity, and singled out Rustin in particular as a Communist and homosexual.

Numerous threats were made leading up to the March on and the day, including assassination attempts against Martin Luther King, Jr. and NAACP leader Roy Wilkins.

The Los Angeles Times received a message saying its headquarters would be bombed unless it denounced President Kennedy with racist language.

5 airplanes were grounded on the morning of August 28 due to bomb threats.

Should It Be Legal to Pay Disabled Workers Subminimum Wages?

Lawren Barber-Wood. December 9, 2016.

I. Section 14© and Who It Affects

In America, the current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Most states, though, have higher minimum wages, like Alaska, where the minimum wage is $9.75 an hour. Most American workers are paid whichever wage is higher where they live, but there are some exceptions; minors, waitstaff, and disabled workers can all legally be paid below minimum wage. Minors can only be paid below minimum wage for ninety days, though, and waitstaff can only be paid subminimum wages if they’re tipped. Even then, there are limitations on this; “if an employee’s tips plus cash wages do not add up to at least minimum wage… the employer is required to [pay enough to] make the employee whole” (Simpson).  In regards to disabled workers, on the other hand, there is no limit to how low they can be paid or for how long they can be paid these low wages. This is because of a seventy-five year old addition to the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, called Section 14©.

Keep reading

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

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”]

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.

silencethebadwolf  asked:

I live in Maryland where the min wage is $8.25/hr. the job I just accepted said for the duration of the time I am training (12 weeks since I am training to be a dog groomer), my wage will be $7.65/hr, and once I finish training it will be $10/hr. is that legal? should I ask about that when I come in for the first day?

Well, like every other wage question, it varies by state, but generally, yes, this is legal, but only for people under age 20 and only for the first 90 days. It’s part of something called Youth Minimum Wage, which is different than regular minimum wage, and is only $4.25/hr. After the first 90 days (calendar days, not work days), the minimum wage becomes the national minimum wage, unless state minimum wage is higher. This is presumably allowed because people under 20 generally don’t have any work experience and therefore aren’t considered to be on par with other employees. It’s kind of shitty, but it is legal nonetheless.

More information on the Youth Minimum Wage/Fair Labor Standards Act here, on the Department of Labor’s website.

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.

anonymous asked:

has Hillary said anything specific about police brutality, raising the minimum wage or lowering rising tuition costs? To me she seems like a fine candidate for a white dem but fails to show any passion for the lives of poor people or people in poverty.

Just by going on her campaign website, you will be prompted to sign up and join if you support being in an era that stops mass incarceration, so I can say with certainty this is at the forefront of her campaign.

She has said:

“Black lives matter. Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that. … Since this campaign started, I’ve been talking about the work we must do to address the systemic inequities that persist in education, in economic opportunity, in our justice system. But we have to do more than talk—we have to take action.”

If you read through her plan you’ll see among the main points are: ending mass incarceration, making body cameras available to every police department nationwide, ending racial profiling, creating nationwide guidelines for use of force, reforming mandatory minimum sentencing, ending private prisons, and helping former prisoners reintegrate into society.

Hillary’s first job out of law school was for the newly-formed Children’s Defense Fund, an organization she would later chair. The CDF has“partnered with numerous organizations and worked with policy makers to build bipartisan support to enact laws that have helped millions of children fulfill their potential and escape poverty because they received the health care, child care, nurturing, proper nutrition and education they deserve.

She has gone on the record saying we should raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour.


  • She was an original cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, and authored the 2006 and 2007 Standing with Minimum Wage Earners Act to tie Congressional salary increases to an increase in the minimum wage.
  • She worked to extend unemployment benefits for Americans who were out of work, cosponsoring amendments and bills to extend benefits through the end of 2003 and into 2004, and voting to provide emergency unemployment benefits during the 2008 financial crisis.
  • The Paycheck Fairness Act, which Hillary Clinton introduced in 2005 and 2007, would have amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to prevent employer retaliation against workers who claim wage discrimination, or workers who inquire about or discuss their wages. This concept was adopted, in part, by President Obama’s April 2014 Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their wages. 
  • She cosponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which became the first law signed by President Obama. The Act, which expanded workers’ rights to take pay discrimination issues to court, was also introduced in 2007 and was cosponsored by Clinton.
  • As a Senator she opposed the Bush tax cuts for millionaires in 2001 and 2003 and she supported a variety of middle-class tax cuts, including tax credits for student loan recipients, and keeping in place the tax cuts for those who make under $250,000 a year.
  • She has consistently voted against repealing the estate tax on millionaires, doing so in 2001, 2002, and 2006.
  • As a senator she strengthened the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, introducing bills to allow states to expand the program that she helped create as First Lady. The program, created in 1997, has increased health coverage for millions of children in low-income and working families.