Exploitation OR Lifesaving?! The Controversy Around Disabled People Being Paid Pennies An Hour

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Brian Wiese
Brian Wiese - 20 days ago
So if mr. Congressman says that disabled people should only get paid a dollar an hour until they learn how to work, does that mean that all people without disabilities who go to orientation before starting a new job should only get paid a dollar an hour until they learn how to do what they're supposed to do at said new job??🤔🤔
Molly Lenore
Molly Lenore - 27 days ago
It’s kind of ironic, the best customer service I ever got at the grocery store was when they had teens from a local special needs school working there for the day to raise money for their field trip. I got smiled at, greeted, asked if I needed help finding anything, and got helped loading my groceries. On a typical day there it isn’t like that. I think in that situation, they actually deserved MORE. 🤷🏻‍♀️
OnePennyTooMany - Month ago
I’m doing a policy speech in college to bring awareness to this because of your video thank you!
mel o
mel o - Month ago
This should have subtitles gonna second the other people in the comments asking for them.
Synon - Month ago
They say "People should be treated fairly" but if a worker can only produce 50% of the output of a minimum wage worker then would it be treating everyone fairly if they only received 50% of minimum wage?
Ashley *
Ashley * - Month ago
My question with this is, do they still receive social security as well in addition to their income? Because then I would see where that may even out as well and why it still is in law currently. Not that it is right, it is not, but not sure if this was the thinking as well with the law.
CSDAdvocacy - Month ago
Please look us up for a little more detail on this issue. It’s not a good vs. good issue. The kinds of abuse varies, but you fail to even scratch the surface here.
CSDAdvocacy - Month ago
“Work separately” nice euphemism for segregation. Opportunity Village is a horror IMO. Real work is what you’re showing. When you no nothing but segregation of course it’s good. Nevada advocate here. Did OV tell you they get $25.01 per hour from the state for each worker. Would you hire a person with a disability if I gave you $25 an hour to pay and support them.
dottiEpre - Month ago
All people are equal, but that doesn’t mean all people are physically capable of doing the strenuous work that certain job fields demand. Maybe that’s why they get paid less, because they actually are doing less work than the able bodied people. It’s just the facts of the situation and I don’t see how it’s not fair. The more work you are able to do the more you should get paid and the less work you are able to contribute (whatever the reason) the less you will be paid.
ronald poole
ronald poole - Month ago
So 2 minutes in and I'm hooked but I honestly want your opinion on the Special Olympics cuts.
barrelracer121495 - Month ago
Thanks for bringing this issue to the public's awareness. I definitely think that there are some real criticisms for 'sheltered workshops' or 'work centers' and those criticisms should be heard. I also think that it is important to make all workplaces accessible. However, if we just get rid of 14(c), without supporting all workplaces, then so many individuals will lose their jobs and will not be able to find other work, which is unfortunate. I think we need people like John and his father to advocate for workplace integration first, and then phase out 14(c) slowly. We cannot just cut it out completely, because it will leave many individuals with disabilities out in the cold with nothing to do.
Julie Starzyk
Julie Starzyk - 2 months ago
I bought some socks from John’s Crazy Socks because who doesn’t love some fun socks. I love everything about their business model. I got the socks in the mail today and with them John included a note that made my heart happy. It’s says “I hope these socks put a spring in your step” and he drew a flower. ☺️❤️ They donate 5% of their earnings to the Special Olympics which is an amazing organization. I just thought I’d share my experience with them in the hopes that more people will consider supporting John and his company. Hope everyone is having a wonderful day. DFTBA.
Sohail Khan
Sohail Khan - 2 months ago
Brilliant show, Phil. I am going to look for John's Crazy Socks in Toronto and when I find them, I swear I will never buy any other brand but John's Crazy Socks. Please do more stories like these.
Stevie B
Stevie B - 2 months ago
I've never left a comment before but after watching I felt I needed to comment to say you and your staff bring the best research when presenting the best unbiased information on issues. Crazy socks you are an inspiration to be the change you want to see in the world. As a High school sophomore I mentored a fellow high school student that had down syndrome enrolled in a mainstreaming program (going to regular classes just with modified expectations) At the end of the year I learned the most from her than anyone else.
Kerri Grundl
Kerri Grundl - 2 months ago
Great reporting! One thing I would add is to consider using person first language, example, person with a disability, instead of saying disabled person. It just keeps the emphasis on the person instead of the disability.
Christina Coad
Christina Coad - 2 months ago
The issue here is people hear "disablity" an picture people with ANY disablity. People with disablities that can't be seen or that don't effect people working. A place like a McDonalds or a Target or something isn't going to hire a non-verbal autistic, or someone with severe down sydrome or severe brain injuries, who cannot do the jobs that are at those places. Why not pass a law where these places have to be inspected regularly (and have suprize visits so they can't fake looking good) to make sure they aren't exploting people. Those people were so happy to work at the Village. Imagine having to tell that woman who said they are her family "The government says you can't work here anymore"
Christina Coad
Christina Coad - 2 months ago
My mom was in an accident and got a brain injury, she now works at a place similar to the Village in this video, her brain injury isn't extremely severe but it limits alot of short term memory and how quickly she can move, she was able to go back to her job she had before the accident for a short time, but as she got older the injury seemed to effect her more so she had to leave that job. I think places like where she works and the one in this video are great BUT I can see the potential for explotation by people who aren't as kind hearted as the people who run these programs, someone who just wants cheap labor and attempts to bend the rules (i.e by trying to pay people with diagnosed illnesses by that don't effect how they work less, or exploting people who are on temporary disablity trying to go back to work) I was going to go into alot more but it started to get to long. So in conclusion I think its great but the places where they work should be inspected to ensure they aren't exploting anyone.
cosby714 - 2 months ago
I think it's horrible for someone to be paid less than minimum wage because they're disabled, I think it's discrimination, plain and simple.
ollieegdk - 2 months ago
What i great show i ran into thinking ill be aganst this, but this made med think thar All ppl should be respekted, but a company is a Company and need to make a balance
Allen Ellsworth
Allen Ellsworth - 2 months ago
Neil Romano is a clown. His argument is crap.
Fairfieldfencer - 2 months ago
I would personally get rid of 14C and replace it with an alternative companies would still want; Tax breaks. Pay less taxes for every disabled person you employ.
TheRandomego - 2 months ago
I don'tknow you'll read this Philip but I want to point out I don't have the best knowledge about this being a college drop. However I want to voice my opinion. What if you add a tax exemptions for hiring disabled people with a minimum wage to incentivize companies hiring them. Keep programs like this since it is also beneficial for the family of the disabled person and the disabled person himself/herself. The tax exemptions should have a minimum number of disabled person hired before being able to apply for the tax exemption and should be counted not by numbers but by the % of all the workforce in the company. Also adding that the % should vary from industry to industry. Let's say a 10-20% number of disabled people in the assembly industry or a 5-10% in the construction industry since there is more risk. I dunno. Shout out to my girlfriend Shirly.
dibaby1970 - 2 months ago
My brother in law is mentally handicapped. He has the mentality of a 7 year old and in many ways is much more vulnerable and is more like a toddler. Yes, they should be treated with respect. However, if my brother in law were to make minimum wage he would no longer qualify for many of the programs he qualifies for. Those programs cost far more than he could ever make, even making minimum wage and working 40 hours a week. He works 5 days a week, 4 hours a day. The program be works for is hardly a productive job, he does menial things that are basically making up jobs for him to do. The company spends much more time caring for him and making sure he is safe during the day than they get out of productive work from him. However Stephen loves going to work, it makes him feel important and makes him feel like his brothers. Stephen shreds paper, he loves doing it. Stephen will never transition into a higher functioning job, it is a valuable part of his life and minimum wage would interfere with his other benefits. So for Stephen pennies per hour is just fine. He has everything he needs and more in life, and he does enjoy how important his job makes him feel.
FujoshiPeanut - 2 months ago
This is a tough one. While I think disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, I'm wondering if companies like this would likely exist if that was the case. I think it's important that disabled people have a chance to earn, make work relationships and gain some semblance of independence. I'm disabled myself and that's what I want for my future.
Justin Oliver
Justin Oliver - 2 months ago
Wow! Keep it up!
Dave Wells
Dave Wells - 2 months ago
I work at a place that employs blind and visually impaired.  We used to work under 14(c) but for many reasons we did away with it and now pay at least minimum wage.  Although we never fired anyone that performed poorly, we did cut their hours.  We were unable to allow them to work 40hrs a week and produce at less than 50%.  We reduced some to 2 days a week and others to 3 days a week and in one instance to 1 day.  So I think the folks at opportunity village would not be able to continue to employ the people that would have the biggest difficulty finding a job.
Wayne Baylor
Wayne Baylor - 2 months ago
Our company facilitates completive and integrated employment opportunities for individuals who are mentally challenged. In the national realm of business and politics people have a tendency to group all individuals that are disabled into one group, which makes it difficult in hiring a person with a disability let alone trying to explain it to an outside company. Our company understands this dilemma and is why our company was formed over 3 years ago.

One of our sources of work has been assembling passenger oxygen masks for commercial airlines. Between our parent company COF Training Services, Inc. and us, we have assembled these masks for over 20 years. We just found out that this work will be going away within the year. The product will now be assembled in the Philippines.

The unemployment may be low for the general population but very high for people with disabilities. This is why I am writing to you. With the current climate in Washington of talk to eliminate the Fair Standards Act Section 14 (c) program, a person with certain disabilities needs a way to earn a living in a completive market place and being paid an hourly rate will not work. Section 14 (c) is a good program and like any other as long as it is being operated correctly can provide more work for people with certain disabilities to help bring down the unemployment rate for this population.

We can provide more work with the combination of hourly and piece rate if allowed to in the same setting. There is much more to this model that we would like to discuss if given a chance. I believe a strong America is a working America and all areas of the population deserves a chance to work.
Liked your video.
Stormy Templeton
Stormy Templeton - 2 months ago
I used to work at a company that used sheltered employment. I worked in the houses to help them there while the residents would go to the workshop to work. I was always conflicted on what was going on with this. On one hand, the residents got paid the low low wages, but on the other, they got social security due to their disabilities. I'm not sure how that factors in for other companies. Some of our residents hated how little they were making while others were just happy to be able to work. I fully believe in paying them fairly personally, but I couldn't really advocate for it when I was working there.
Judy D
Judy D - 2 months ago
What about the exploitation of the disabled on youtube? I would love to read other's opinion on this. I am taken aback by the number of parents who are supporting their family by vlogging about their disabled (and often non-verbal) children. They sometimes have Patreon accounts and sell merchandise capitalizing on their child's disability. Some repeatedly claim that they are their "child's voice" but these children are unable to give their consent for having their daily lives documented and monetized. Many times the children seem tired, unwilling and combative during the video taping. Seems wrong to put it mildly. Your thoughts?
Santiago Medina
Santiago Medina - 2 months ago
This is dope, bringing this to more peoples attention thank you Phil.
emlee - 2 months ago
School is inclusive. Why shouldn't some workplaces be? Disability is made up of 14 categories where there is such a continuum of skills. I feel that we are limiting the potential of invididuals with disabilities by offering them jobs with sub minimum wage.
Hope Tried It
Hope Tried It - 2 months ago
Great story! 👏👏👏👏 I am torn on this issue. It's so complex. This is great food for thought. Brilliant work you guys.
Rahi Delvi
Rahi Delvi - 2 months ago
Excellent topic!
Lex Lopez
Lex Lopez - 2 months ago
Thank you soooooo much for talking about this. I work directly with the intellectually disabled community and it is extremely difficult finding them jobs if they are unable to hide that they have a disability or if the employer assumes that my clients can't manage to do a specific job. Something you may also want to consider is the difficulty in applying jor jobs in itself. Most jobs have online applications, if they admit they are disabled on the application, it seems more often than not, they dont get a call back. Also, some of my clients dont know how to read or write. They have memory issues so they cant recall previous employers well enough to build a resume. But they are physically capable of doing work, janitorial work, physical labor, or checking people in, customer service. Disability ranges in so many ways and although they may have some limitations, it doesn't mean that they should not be allowed to be payed fairly. I have clients with spouses and kids they want to work, they are well aware that SSI isn't enough to sustain a lifestyle they want to live. If they are able to do it, they should be given the chance.
Endless Mike
Endless Mike - 2 months ago
Amazing video, thank you Phil and co.
EcnalKcin - 2 months ago
That Neil Romano guy sounds like an idiot. Like others point out, if you make minimum wage the same for disabled people, nobody is going to hire a disabled person unless they are as efficient as anyone else. Both work centers and companies like the one John and his dad have are important. Work centers can give meaningful employment to people with a level of disability that prevents them from working in a company like the one John and his father own. This politically correct idea that everyone is equal is demonstrably untrue, and pandering to it could actually hurt the people it is supposed to help. I say fire that Neil Romano guy and hire a disabled person from that work center to take his place.
Hi Hi
Hi Hi - 2 months ago
I feel like the comparison between other minority groups getting paid less and disabled people getting paid less doesn't really work.
There's a difference between being black and being literally physically less capable of doing a job because of a physical limitation.
Don't think the subminimum wages should be able to go *as* low as potentially described, but I just really don't think that comparison works out. And I think the fairness and equality statement is kinda dodgy too, because frankly, I don't think what we need here is equality, but more along the lines of equity (not in the finance sense obviously - as in, equality vs equity. Search it up if you got no idea what I'm on about)
Then again, I'm just a dumdum teenager, not disabled, and i don't think subminimum wages are even a thing where I live so uh, take it all with a pinch of salt eh.
Patton Durio
Patton Durio - 2 months ago
If you expect people to pay disabled people as much as heathy people then you really just expect them to not get hired. Thats just how the world is. Nobody is going to hire someone who can’t do the job as well for the same price as someone who can do it better. This is the opinion of a legally disabled person by the way.
Maliine - 2 months ago
That monkey to the left keeps moving from 3:36 - 4:05 !!!
Laura Martel
Laura Martel - 2 months ago
Heyy just wanted to let you know BOTH morning videos from last week havent showed up in my sub box till today. First time this has happened :(
Tails Clock
Tails Clock - 2 months ago
If we change the law so that disabled people must be paid the same amount, this will result in many disabled people getting fired. I fully support paying people fairly. As in paying people for the work they do. If they aren't working as hard as other people, or not doing as much, then don't pay them as much. This is fair. (What's not fair are lazy managers getting paid loads. These are the actual problem causers.)
Raising minimum wage has consistantly fucked people over. It just drags the middle class down instead of pushing the lower class up. And this is what will happen if we force people to pay bad workers more. These short term tactics are hurting the entire country's econemy. Homelessness is getting worse and worse. Good intentioned people need to get educated before they become part of the problem, so I am glad this topic was brought up. I hope people that were saying "This is unfair" at the start can end with "Oh this is actually a good idea" by the end.
Neil Romano is surprisingly old for a SJW. Idiot doesn't know what he's talking about. "They can't even buy a pair of sneakers or take a friend to the movies." Well that just sounds like my life... Yeah I wish things were better but I am disabled and I get to eat nice food still and live in a house all whilst being useless. I feel quite good about what I get for what I do. But until I find a way to be more productive I don't WANT to be paid more. I'd like to earn my way up. I don't need to go to the cinema... I do need new shoes though.
I just need, someone to help and stop me from giving up when things get hard. Or to remind me that I don't need to be perfect. I let so many things get in my way and hold me back. I'm disabled, but I'm going to be wealthy. I have skills that make me useful. I just have no confidence or motivation... Well there is the occasional day where I really am too unwell to do a thing and end up spending the day on Youtube being depressed. Oh no...
But seriously I got paid $4 the other day for a job well done. Things are getting better, when I put in the effort, and that's how it should be. So long as I can live on what I get, it's fair.
sagefireace - 2 months ago
And now Walmarts getting rid of greeters...
Judy Xiong
Judy Xiong - 2 months ago
i am autism myself i think it parents who barking about little pay's me as autism person i think most special need people's are not bug by little pay's they just happy be out at home and doing thing to me i would feel same
to those disable who don't have autism and down syndrome and high functioning autism should bark not paying a lot because they don't have deal with lost of ssi i as a autism do have deal with that so getting pay little money's is good because if they pay me lot i would have lost ssi what i need for medicine and stuff like thing oh by way i notice that they never did ask what those disable what they think of getting pay of little money's where that none as i put is was just parent's who bark about come on
Mikerphone - 2 months ago
The issue here is that it is not financially viable for these companies to operate while employing less than average productivity workers while paying them equally as much as their fully productive counterparts. And they will close their doors leaving thousands of mentally disabled people out of work as the infrastructure for work elsewhere just doesn't exist yet. This also isn't covering the fact that nearly all of these people who are working at these facilities also have a heavy reliance, as they should be able to, on welfare and special needs financial aid programs and healthcare provided by the taxpayer and corresponding government.
Being poor is not an issue of disability although disabled peoples do make up a significant portion of the population struggling financially. Being poor is a national and global epidemic that requires more of a top down approach to solutions. Closing these facilities is not the answer.
Ally Putvin
Ally Putvin - 2 months ago
Thank you for bringing light to this topic, but there’s a big piece of the conversation missing here. Disability benefits and working restrictions. The highest amount of benefits you can receive is below minimum wage and the poverty level, you’re not allowed to have more than $2,000 in your account at any one time, and if you do work, you risk loosing your benefits. This isn’t an easy to fix problem, especially if we’re not looking at the whole picture.
1990Stephanie2010 - 2 months ago
Being blind I knew about this already. 70 to 80% of blind people are unemployed of those a large majority of blind people (especially ones that I know have college degrees and are still unemployed or work in sheltered workshops.) I’m not sure of the exact percentage. Right now I fall in the unemployed with college degrees category, but over the summer I worked at a place called Alphapointe who hires blind and visually impaired people. 70 to 80% of their staff are blind or visually impaired. Other than sheltered workshops these are usually the only places that will hire you if you’re blind. Although, there are a few exceptions like Microsoft who will hire you if you’re qualified to do the job.
Not only do employers not want to hire blind people but when blind people actually do get an interview with the employer they’re usually faced with questions that sighted people are not. For example, let’s say that a blind person and a sighted person both apply for a job as a Computer tech. The blind person will get asked questions such as how do you take a part a computer? Or how do you read what’s on the screen? And then they will decide based on the answer the blind person gives that they’re not a good fit for the job. Even though the blind person could perform the job just as well as the sighted person they will most likely give the job to the sighted person instead. I suspect it’s because the employer is more comfortable with the sighted person because they know more about them, but Google exists and it is possible to Google things that you are unsure about and it’s also possible to ask questions of the person or of other blind or visually impaired people in the same field. Going back to my example, I know a blind guy who builds computers from scratch. And yes it is technically illegal to do this (this is discrimination) under the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), but I’ve seen this scenario play out over and over again within the blind community especially.
Paul Jones
Paul Jones - 2 months ago
I thought it was a very good video. Very informative with a neutral presentation (I don't know where the "journalist" stands on the issue).
On the issue itself....
1. Whatever the program's baseline merit, it's potential for abuse has to be factored into its ultimate value. As for example crowdfunding may be a wonderful tool for legitimate fundraising for entrepreneurs, the platform is also easier than more traditional platforms to abuse. I can't say I know how big that issue is here, but it stands to reason that in large program in a large economy there will be examples of abuse. If saying "some people abuse this program" is enough to kill a program, you can say goodbye to just about every program in the social safety net. Fraud is everywhere in just about every program.
2. I am all for private sector solutions that reduce the rational for the program. Go Crazy Socks. And go employers who are finding that they can pay "disabled" autistic people handsome wages if they structure employment for them. To the extent there are ways for employers to "exploit" people with particular disabilities by developing jobs "designed" to make those folks more productive - great! And market forces will find them.
3. The argument that low wages are not living wages is disingenuous. These low wage jobs are part of the safety net: the folks who have disabilities that qualify for the low wages are folks who also qualify for other government support (as for example Chris). The low wages are supplemental to their other benefits, not in lieu of them. It's not usually a "you get this or you get some other benefit(s)."
4. There is a critical benefit beyond wages here - socialization. You can see the camaraderie in the interviews of the workers at the center. We see that with our son Chris. It is something that gets them out in a community - and in this case a community of their peers, not just people "better abled" than they are. It combats isolation, which is debilitating in itself. Think Special Olympics.
So, for me, unless the administrative costs, and operational abuses, of the program are (taken together) pretty large, the programs make sense. I do not have enough information from this podcast to know the answer to that question, but if I had to guess I'd say the concept of the sub minimum wage for disabled workers, as part of a broader safety net for such folks, is solid even taking into account admin expense and abuse.
Frances Zapata
Frances Zapata - 2 months ago
Please include closed captions so that the information is accessible to everyone
Diejt Childs The Lazy Gamer
I have a few good friends that struggle to find work due to their conditions. A lot of these people feel like they have a purpose when they have a job. I don't live in the states myself and luckily my friends have found supportive workplaces (some paid and some volunteer work) and they don't have to worry about their living situation. As long as the workers in this sub-minimum wage jobs are not having to worry and feel fulfilled in life I personally would see that as positive. As is with any situation involving those with disabilities there is going to be people who treat them badly. Making sure these workplaces are up to standard as well as their living spaces is important. The reality is the employer needs an incentive to employ these people. It's easier to employ someone who is more efficient / skilled. You don't need as much space if you don't have to hire as many people. I find people tend to want to support business that supports their communities, that combined with this Sub-minimum wage seems to give enough incentive for some businesses to hire these people. I think talking about other alternatives that achieve the same goal is a really good idea because I personally feel like there's a lot of room for improvement. However stopping something that achieves something important without replacing it with something else that achieves the same/similar outcome seems like a really bad idea.
Also that dude that said "...We're talking about old fashioned, garden variety, discrimination against people..." "I have never heard anyone advocate for OTHER minority groups to be paid less than minimum wage" Is completely ignoring that the capabilities of a trans black lesbian woman most of the time is the exact same as a straight white dude. Obviously if someone with a disability can do said task at the same level as everyone else they should be paid the exact same as everyone else. To my understanding the sub-minimum wage was when the individual was unable to do said task at the normal expected rate. Different people have different capabilities and by completely ignoring that I think you are doing the people you are advocating for a disservice. I understand the emotions behind his argument but airy fairy wistful thinking doesn't change how the world works.
Like I said earlier stopping something that achieves something important without replacing it with something else that achieves the same/similar outcome seems like a really bad idea. I feel like a happy compromise until a more permanent solution is agreed on should be just reviewing and updating the amount that gets paid.
fionavictoria88 - 2 months ago
I worked in a group home for developmentally disabled persons for a few years in Florida before I moved back home to Los Angeles. The staff would drop off our 6 clients Monday - Friday at a day work program, where they would put together mailing packets. While I understand that each person has value, I do believe that in some situations the pay structure of 14C should stay in place, especially for the severely disabled. There are many disabled persons that are active and functional. They CAN do skilled labor. HOWEVER, out of our 6 clients in the group home, there were only 2 people capable of that. In our sister location 3 out of 6 could work. We took ALL 6 to work in the day program. This was much needed, even for the 4 that were so severely disabled that productivity for them was at 0%. This was a daily activity for them. This was a way for them to feel normal. A way to get out of the group home and be apart of something. It is absolutely correct that many of these places will shut down, taking away opportunity for the disabled. In many cases, day program workers who are there to assisst the developmentally disabled persons that came in, worked in the same capacity as myself working in a group home: They are there to care for them. They have to change and bathe them in some cases, just like at home. They did just as I did. Sometimes these are not just work programs, these are day care facilities. Also, this hurts the group homes where they live. Example: If the day work program gets shut down because they cannot pay minimum wage, and a company opens up for those that can have some capacity to work and get paid a wage, 2 of those clients could work. 4 of my clients would HAVE to stay home in the group home. The group home has to fund 2 workers to sit with them. This takes funding out of the home. (pay, employee insurance....etc....). This is funding that pays bills, weekend activities, pays necessary workers, food etc.... This is a problem and can hurt people in the long run. There is so much more, but these are the basics at the top of the list to this.
Rose Greenblatt
Rose Greenblatt - 2 months ago
Hi Phil! As a disability advocate and professional I encourage you to adopt person first language (i.e. a person with a disability v a disabled person). Thank you for covering this story. I recommend looking into New Jersey’s “work first” supports program for adults with developmental disabilities for a good solution to the challenges posed by both sides.
coltondrg? - 2 months ago
Just because someone is less productive on average doesn't mean the hours, minutes, and seconds of their lives are less valuable than anyone else's. This isn't really rocket science.
Draidis - 2 months ago
I'm super divided on this. I don't like that people with disabilities are being paid less than others. I don't like that that is ok. However, I can't deny that it seems like they will not have the job opportunities they have without this situation. The fact that John's Crazy Socks stands in clear defiance of hiring disabled individuals being bad business doesn't change the fact that they are a pretty unique case and that 40 or so disabled individuals they employ isn't even a drop in the bucket. We need to work on conveying their message to more people and improving the understanding that hiring disabled individuals is good business but in the meantime, I think eliminating this bill would pull a lot of unfortunate people out of work. This is a problem with a long term solution, unfortunately. Not something that is going to be solved in the next few years.
Whizper2me - 2 months ago
I encourage anyone with an opinion on this to actually engate in active communities led by people who are themselves disabled instead of those communities led by ablebodied people. I have seen signitifant improvements in quality of life and earning potential in those communities led by disabled people themselves because they do not discount the value of disabled people and what they can do. There is no reason why we should lose the support sheltered communities or workplaces provide if we choose to honour the work they do with a living wage. The key is understanding that it is dehumanising and effectively slave labour. They are implying that there is NO work that these people can do that could provide a competitive level of work for a competitive income. That they are too uselless to provide realworld value and thus must be provided with "pity work".
This is bigotry, it is not good citizenship. It is not progressive. It is not kindness. It is ableism and it is modern slavery.
We can provide value. We can do work. We can serve our communities. Please educate yourselves about the views of people like the #neurodiversity community and the #actuallyautistic community or #cripplepunk and other communities that do not support these humiliating systems of segretation for people with disabilities.
Whizper2me - 2 months ago
Minimum wage should never be circumvented. If you are human, you deserve minimum wage.
Melora Carabas
Melora Carabas - 2 months ago
Same sort of problem here in the Netherlands and politicians are trying to make it worse to get more disabled people to work ....by of course making them earn less.
And most people just nod along with the argument that if you can do less work, you should earn less even when it is less than a minimum wage.
The whole reasoning comes down to disabled people being judged as lesser humans, because minimum wage is only the minimum for normal abled humans. Disabled people are apparently below that.
I feel like humans are getting dumber every day. And as soon as everybody has turned into an idiot, then we are all disabled....
So.... We better get things straight before injustice happens in everybodies backyard.
Phoebe .Pitcock
Phoebe .Pitcock - 2 months ago
I'm developmentally disabled and I was offered one of these jobs. I was genuinely insulted. Why is my time less valuable than a neurotypical person's? I still eat, I still need shelter and transportation, I still need clothes and utilities. I can't rely on my family's help for the rest of my life, I need to be paid just like anyone else would to survive.
PinedaIllarioJr - 2 months ago
The disabled thing is so stupid and shows how greedy these corporations are. I work high end security and I once worked in a building where a company did the opposite. There was a law firm named Haynes and Boone’s that did hire plenty of disabled workers but actually paid them decently, something like 14$ an hour which in Texas is decent and they do all those running and stocking jobs and they’re happy. As annoying as lawyers can be it was something that I liked seeing
PinedaIllarioJr - 2 months ago
Among other companies I’ve seen doing that, my point being is that it’s possible. The whole thing that they’re paying the disabled that much is so sad and terrible cuz all they have to do it profit slightly less. I’ve seen plenty of successful companies pay fair wages to their disabled employees so why can’t everyone do it
Erland Johansen
Erland Johansen - 2 months ago
Ooooooorrr, you could do what we do in Norway. Disabled workers are paid the same as anyone else, and companies are instead comped by the government.
Lunos Nocturne
Lunos Nocturne - 2 months ago
Sheltered workshops are a symptom of a problem, and the problem is that our economic system doesn't treat people as human beings. We have been conditioned to see people as only worth how well they're able to sell their labor or otherwise make money. These people are either being exploited or dehumanized, if not both, all because everyone has to work to "deserve" to have a humane quality of life.
RobinFlysHigh - 2 months ago
16:47 John rubbing his dad's arm cracked me up for some reason
David Markley
David Markley - 2 months ago
For the people who want this program eliminated.... answer this simple question... would you hire some one that could only do a fraction of the work as an able body person if you were forced to pay them equally? Ie you need four disabled people to complete the same work as one able body person so that four time the wage four times the insurance four times everything not just an hourly wage..... programs like this help give these people purpose, they give them something to look forward to each day.
Chasing Gods
Chasing Gods - 2 months ago
Seriously, mind blown. Awesome reporting!
Kyra Jeanine Solis
Kyra Jeanine Solis - 2 months ago
This video is amazingly well done! Great job, DeFranko Team. Thanks for educating me!
Ratoftheswamp - 2 months ago
I had a great paying job I loved but I couldn't keep it because of being physically disabled. So now I live on disability. I do not receive enough money to live off of. My partner has to help me pay for things just so I can eat and have toilet paper. Not only does this make me feel like a burden and a failure but it puts stress on me which makes my health worse. I believe our society wants disabled people to all just disappear. Especially in America there is this view that if you aren't working constantly you are useless. There is also a belief that if you have to "live off of the government" you are a bad person. Like bitch wish I could work, i would love to have a job but i literally can not work. I'm not a bad person because I was born with a shity body, I am not a burden to society because I was born this way, and I not not deserve to pushed into poverty because of it.
Brian Sullivan
Brian Sullivan - 2 months ago
I worked for a facility for years in IL (not the one mentioned). I think what was only lightly touched on here are the real purpose for these places. These places are not, I repeat not, the clients' "job". These facilities are primarily focused on training, care and placement into the "work force". The place where I worked had physical therapy, counseling, reading and mathematics programs, and oh yeah, the work floor. Now there are clients in these places who are never going to be able to work anywhere else. Nonverbal, severely physically handicapped people. These are also some of the nicest people I have ever known. Larry. Larry was in a wheelchair. Larry was designated as non-verbal, profoundly physically disabled, and the greatest human to ever be on this planet. Larry's mom made him a Batman costume and I made his chair the Batmobile one year for Halloween, it was epic. Those years are some of the proudest of my life. But the fact is that Larry was never going to be able to be anywhere other than right there at Cou... (place name withheld, I'm no longer there and I do not speak for them) None of us on staff were there for the money. That facility in CO is the exception, not the rule. Just like that horrible IL facility, the exception. Most of these places barely get by financially. I guess my point here is that this story really hit home for me, but I really wish you'd have given some examples of the many, many other services these places provide. There are disgusting people that exploit others in every walk of life, but painting these places with such a wide brush in some respects and such a narrow one in others really does a disservice to the staff. The staff who are only there because they want to be doing something other than making money at work. I ended up leaving for that very reason, money. I couldn't live on what they were paying me, and I was staff. I'm sure if they had unlimited funds, things would be different. But they don't, so they are how they are. Most of these projects at these facilities are things that these companies would have staff doing on top of a workload. The coffee for example. Most hotels have the cleaning service staff do that. In the example here, it's farmed out. Why? Because it's cheaper? Nope. It would be cheaper to do it in house. They farm these jobs in order to give something back, not because companies are exploiting workers for profit. The place I was at had a huge contract putting test tubes in cardboard racks. This is a packaging process easily automated, but the company had us doing it because they wanted to support all the things the facility does. Not save money. Ugh, Okay, rant over. Good piece, though.
MyWayofEverything - 2 months ago
I don't really have an opinion on this issue because I'm just not informed enough however, there is one aspect I think you missed in the coverage and that is the reason for the sub minimum wage from a business standpoint. Going back to you bottle stickers example. Let's say that the company NEEDS to get 100 stickers on 100 bottles every hour to meet demand and stay in business. They can hire one "normal" person at minimum wage or they could hire 4 people with disabilities that cut their productivity to 25%. A company would be unlikely to do so or be able to afford to do so if each of those 4 disabled workers was making minimum wage. Instead of paying $7.25 an hour to get the 100 bottles done they would be paying $29.00 an hour. With all other operating and material costs those bottles would either not make a profit and the company would go under or the bottles would become more expensive and then perhaps people could not or would choose not to buy them. That is the logic behind the sub minimum wage to me. Whether it is right or wrong I don't know but I fell it was not right to leave the business's side of it out.
Sleepy Kitty
Sleepy Kitty - 2 months ago
I used to work while I was in psychiatry in a place similar to opportunity village.
I appreciated that they give people a place to work, but..
I had to put together packages and put them in boxes and I was so under challenged, that I had an anger outburst.
And I only got payed a euro an hour.
I hope they have a better system of determining who will like to work there and what they get paid..
Even though I would pay everyone minimum wage. 7,25 $ minimum wage is a joke anyway.
Flamingo Snake
Flamingo Snake - 2 months ago
There’s people who ARENT disabled that aren’t as productive as each other, but we aren’t paying them less than minimum wage. Who gets to set the standard for productivity?
Jacob Burrell
Jacob Burrell - 2 months ago
All humans are NOT created equal. This is an undeniable fact. I dont mean to say that not all people deserve respect, because they absolutely do. Wether or not you believe an employee should be compensated at their ability level, most companies do. Without 14c, these individuals wouldn't be able to work at all.
Grizzlof - 2 months ago
My brother works for sub minimum wage if he would make anymore more money he would lose his benefits sub minimum wage has a place
Inflated Hero
Inflated Hero - 2 months ago
This is a tough topic. I actually oppose all minimum wage laws.
Ryan Kelzenberg
Ryan Kelzenberg - 2 months ago
One issue to remember is that individual on are on SSI have income limits. If they exceed those limits, they loose benefits such as medical insurance.
In general, the income limit for SSI is the federal benefit rate (FBR), which is $771 per month for an individual.
OmgMirage - 2 months ago
How much difference would it make in the life of someone who is disabled
Be exploited for no money so companies make money OR, be unemployed with also no money and these companies have to pay workers actual wages??
OmgMirage - 2 months ago
It's exploitation. They talk about it as people being paid to be in a daycare...if you don't like it, then maybe hire "capable people" and pay minimum wage..oh wait... that'd still be the people who are disabled already doing the job 🤦
Raptorking18 - 2 months ago
I’m not ableist but would you call a disabled person who shows up to work late Tardy?
aimson - 2 months ago
Getting rid of 14c would be a bad idea because then many employed people with disabilities would be unable to work at all. Work has far more benefits than just money, as anybody in mental health care will tell you. The evidence is VERY strong for the benefit of work for people with SMI and other disabilities, and any opportunity to work in a *supportive* environment is absolutely critical for their mental health. I would definitely support cracking down on bad behavior or fraud, but it would be evil to throw out the 'baby with the bath water'.
birdwithabrokenwing - 2 months ago
I rotund this really interesting but it felt slightly one sided to me especially with the way it ended. I applaud that young man and his father and hope their business continues to succeed- but to say that is a viable and workable model for ALL companies is just ridiculous. If it becomes law to pay all disabled people minimum wage and shut down these specialist centres then all that will happen is the majority of disabled people will no longer be able to be employed. Most normal work environments are not suitable for people with these levels of mental and/or physical disabilities, and most jobs usually want to hire the best person available for the job, meaning the person who can do the most work to the higher standards standard in the shortest amount of time, and that is rarely going to be the people in this category. I have worked with people with Autism for years, and I understand the issues on both sides, but these people need to look at the bigger picture and accept reality and not judge the whole country based on one single tiny very focused and specialised company.
U MADBRO - 2 months ago
Mark is full of shit I'm sorry I can see right through that. Lmao not all about making profits bahahaha let's see how long company lasts
Shaun Kiss
Shaun Kiss - 2 months ago
12:25 “I have never heard of advocates for other minority groups to be paid less than minimum wage.” What a doof. Do other minority group have performance directly tied to ability? Disingenuous a-hole
singinwithceline - 2 months ago
Thank you for covering this so incredibly well. I have Cerebral Palsy, Lymphedema, migraine, PTSD and deal with chronic pain daily. I’m also a student and disability advocate. Sheltered workshops are nothing short of legalized discrimination. I’ve railed against this, lack of resources for disabled adults, and the marriage penalty for years. It’s legalized segregation. The ADA of 1990 covers reasonable accommodations for work, school, and community. “Reasonable accommodations” can include things like my school allowing me extra time on assignments, allowing disabled workers with chronic pain to work from home, my Dad’s former company allowing him to have food on the factory floor due to his hypoglycemia and diabetes. These accommodations are typically discussed in depth directly with employers and/or schools and they are required by federal US law to come to a mutual agreement on these matters. Refusing to do so on the part of a company is a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Laws exist already that allow for reasonable accommodations in the workplace and elsewhere, making the argument for 14c completely null & void. Disabled people are human beings. We may have to accomplish things differently than able-bodied peers, but we’re still capable, talented, lively people who deserve the same rights you have.
ChromaticCluck - 2 months ago
Well is it just me or did Neil Romano just equate Minorities to being disabled or equate disabilities to a race?
Lialan226489 - 2 months ago
I think there needs to be a balance between the two; a compromise. Businesses hire disabled people and pay sub minimum wages based on productivity, with the government then subsidizing the rest of their wage to bring it up to minimum wage.
David Wells
David Wells - 2 months ago
First off, the NDC guy who compares handicapped people to "other minorities," is being very disingenuous. The comparison is intentionally loaded to play on the tensions of minority issues within the US.
This seems to be the greatest conflict among Americans today: Do we listen to our hearts, or listen to our heads?
Thinking about it with my head, I can see where the people like those who run Opportunity Village are coming from. Who is going to hire these people to work in high stress or otherwise highly demanding jobs and pay them a minimum wage? Most corporations are only interested in one thing: The bottom line. How much money can they make vs. the man hours invested? These people could never compete in a meritocratic system, like we have in the US. So places like Opportunity Village offer these individuals who want to work a place where they are guaranteed a job without undue demands or the risk of being fired. It is a private entity, and is doing this without government compulsion. They are employing people that the rest of the nation will not employ.
That needs to be monitored, of course, to prevent companies from exploiting the handicapped workers as in the example mentioned. But just throwing them into the workforce with others who don't have the same disability would cause myriad problems.
But when I listen to my heart, it doesn't seem right to pay them so much less. I get the math behind the wage calculations, but it still seems wrong to put them all aside and pay them less than any other worker. The company of John's Socks demonstrates that disabled workers can work in adapted situations. They don't need to be isolated. They can learn and develop more complex skills, even if it takes longer than normal. They won't learn in a menial job like at Opportunity Village.
So what do we do? Remove 14C and hope that industry will sacrifice some of their bottom line to employ handicapped people? Force places like Opportunity Village to pay their workers more, potentially causing their organization to become untenable, and losing their contribution to handicapped people's employment?
Stories like this really tug on the heartstrings, but also challenge what we believe is most important in business. Should altruism play a role in the business world? I'll pass the question off to you guys.
Ay B
Ay B - 2 months ago
But does John's Crazy Socks have enrichment programs? That work center place seemed to provide more than just a job. If part of the money being brought in goes paying worker's AND providing services I can see the benefit of sub-minimum wage. I think the real problem is that there will always be people who abuse the system to cheat others (in this case, disabled workers). Solve that issue and you'll fix the world.
Velocity The running Sloth aka Sloth Mom
My brother-in-law is autistic. And he works at one of these little sweatshops. Just to give him something to do. However they charge more than what he makes to transport him there and back
Nyneva Kyte
Nyneva Kyte - 2 months ago
The US has a labor crisis? Funny, I keep hearing about politicians making all these much needed jobs.
Nyneva Kyte
Nyneva Kyte - 2 months ago
There needs to be a differentiation between degrees of physical and mental handicaps: a deaf person does not have the same work-related restrictions as a blind person, never mind someone with severe Downs Syndrome (although I image we'll argue about that detail for decades as well). Correct me if I'm wrong, but most 1st world countries already support handicapped people through numerous programs, included the SSA and the SSDI in the US. So, I don't know if what they receive from those programs is, in fact, enough to live on, but THAT should be the first priority. For severely handicapped people, a job should be an opportunity they desire to experience, not something required to survive; if this is the case, your country is going about this right ass-backward. If they ARE already supported with a living income, this entire issue changes and become more about the right to be treated fairly by your employer, which I think EVERYONE can agree is a universal issue and a basic human right.
Raquel Rusu
Raquel Rusu - 2 months ago
I live in Las Vegas and know several families that have people that have gone through opportunity village or were "trained by them" im sorry i'm not too educated on the matter. All I know for sure is that I hear high praise to heaven about opportunity village from the families. It seems like they may be almost like a star model of these type of programs. They help them in multiple facets of their lives and sounds amazing coming from the families. If you ever have a chance to support them they are a legitimate wonderful program that help disabled people tremendously. They are one of the good guys!
GrandVapors - 2 months ago
If you have a disability you have 25% more chance to be unemployed. If you phase out 14c we will be seeing "If you have a disability you have 100% more chance to be unemployed".
nick - 2 months ago
Really good video thanks keep it up
Job0t The-Robot
Job0t The-Robot - 2 months ago
I don't know enough to make any sort of judgement call on the greater concept of sub-minimum wage. I can say I volunteered at a location very similar to Opportunity Village. I found it to be positive, and I found that the staff genuinely cared about the people they cared for. I can understand the argument that everyone should be included in a system like minimum wage, but I would like to see a solution, rather than a condemnation alone.
Carver - 2 months ago
All these white knights looking to fight imaginary battles. Let these people go feel useful, if you "fix" this situation all that will happen is these jobs won't exist anymore., Would that be more fair?
Bailey Dutcher
Bailey Dutcher - 2 months ago
I never comment but this makes me so angry. This is like saying it’s ok to employ people under 18 with pennies on the dollar of minimum wage. It’s lovely to employ people with disabilities but they NEED to be paid like a whole human. They aren’t sub human and “training” is not an excuse to pay below a legal living wage
Bailey Dutcher
Bailey Dutcher - 2 months ago
I’m sure that I’m some cases this can help people (like those with ssi benifits) but reading though the comments I see way to many cases of exploitation, and we can’t let those slide just because it works “sometimes” we need a new system
Anna B.
Anna B. - 2 months ago
These programs are integral. That can't be disputed. But people should be paid according to time invested and skill, starting from the same bare base wages. End of story... It doesn't matter if they're a waitress, or they have downes syndrome- and this really shouldn't even be a fucking question in 2019. Work is work, and people deserve a sustainable basic wage regardless of who they are.
alois trancy
alois trancy - 2 months ago
Why should we even pay people who can't do the work?
Eco Mouse
Eco Mouse - 2 months ago
Two things... first, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM get a disability check each month, plus housing help, plus food help, plus health care etc., etc... they are not making pennies per hour and expected to live on their own out in the wild. They often have a large support network of family and friends including socializing with others and group activities provided to them by places, like Opportunity Village. They are safe, happy and well cared for. (except for the few outliers that seek to take advantage because of all the free federal money flowing to those types of institutions. You'd see the same type of corruption in nursing homes as well as some churches)

Secondly, places like Caesars in this instance, will not pay someone $8 an hour to put the amenity bars together. If they were forced to, then they'd have to raise the room rates as well. Less people will book etc, etc... But if they were forced to pay at least $8 an hour, don't you think they'd hire some speedy Guatemalan women to fulfill 20x times the amenities per hour? Thus bypassing the need to even give a disabled person a chance to be any kind of productive to themselves and society. At the end of the day, Caesars Entertainment Group is a business, it's not a charity. It has shareholders it's obligated to first and it's own employees second... and customer experience is thrown in there somewhere, but we all know it's really about pleasing the shareholders first.

When you (government) step in and force (compel) business to change it's operations, they will follow the letter of the law to the bare minimum standard that eats away at it's profits in the least amount possible. They'll just call it operational costs, or the costs of doing business. (this is the dark side of capitalism, unfortunately) But when you allow the free market to run, without intervention, then when things like this come up, the public speaks with their collective wallets. Change comes from within, and it appears win-win on all sides. That's what Public Relations is all about. (even though we know deep down they are always doing damage control, to protect their public perception and image in order to minimize losses and increase their revenue)
Mr. Meeseeks
Mr. Meeseeks - 2 months ago
I'm disabled and an employer and I'm disgusted from both aspects of my life. Subminimum wage is an exploitation, nothing more. You're literally telling your disabled employee they are worth less than any able bodied person, and that's just disgusting. And yes, I do have some disabled people on my staff, and have former employees with disabilities, but I didn't hire them for that. I hired them because they're right for the job. That's the bottom line.
Roundfrenchcheesey - 2 months ago
Solution: a negative income tax for disabled workers
Shitocodone - 2 months ago
I'll say from a business's perspective, why would I hire someone who I know cannot keep up with the rest of my staff? I think it is good they have basic jobs that they can do at their own pace, and I think businesses shouldn't have to pay full minimum wage to someone that does something basic that they could easily just make someone else do for no added pay.
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