Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why Have I Never Seen This Before?

The "Capitol Crawl" demonstration, pushing for a vote on the Americans with Disabilities Act, in 1990.

Those were the days.

Not that they're gone, or that protests like this aren't relevant anymore. It's just that there was a simplicity to the ADA that you just can't find in today's really big disability issues. So, you can do a big, dramatic action like this, but a large percentage of those who see it will genuinely wonder what the hell it's all about, and suspect you're being over-dramatic or cynically manipulative. Besides, part of the awesomeness is that in 1989, it really, really surprised people. I just don't think a disability rights action along these lines can be surprising anymore, especially in jaded Washington DC.

What will the next truly astonishing disability rights protest look like?

P.S.: Obviously, watching this for the first time yesterday, the same day I posted about another, less uplifting "crawl", was a nice coincidence.

A Worthwhile Compromise?

Subminimum Wage Plan Divides Disability Advocates
Michelle Diament, Disability Scoop - July 30, 2013

The legislation described seems right to me. It's a compromise, and I'd prefer to see Minimum Wage for everyone, but this I think addresses most of the philosophical and practical problems involved. I would like to see the bill go a bit further in defining sheltered workshop work as job training rather than employment. To me that's as important as Minimum Wage. However, it looks like the bill would make that more of a reality, if not in name then at least in practice.

So, why not just ban all subminimum wage? My wild guess is that there are too many families of people with significant cognitive impairments who think that would result in their loved one flat-out losing their "job". That may not be true, and it may not be true that too many families would think that, but it's the kind of argument that's kept subminimum wage and sheltered workshops going all this time in the face their increasingly embarrassing contradictions. It's also the same argument always used to argue against Minimum Wage increases. The compromise will help reinforce the idea that sheltered workshops and subminimum wage work are short-term pathways to full employment, not permanent, dead end jobs for supposedly substandard workers. This is an improvement.

Because the bill wouldn't do away with sub-minimum wage work altogether, I'm surprised that the National Council on Independent Living is in favor of it, but in a way that encourages me a bit to support the compromise.

More about sheltered workshops and sub-minimum wage work here, here, here, and here.