RCIL Launches Leadership Academy

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Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL) Launches Leadership Academy

By: Nate Baldo

Over the last few decades, the Disability Rights Movement has made tremendous progress in working toward the full integration, independence, and civil rights of people with disabilities and seniors in the community. From the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to the fight for mandatory lifts on public buses, to the establishment of core independent living services for all states, disability rights organizations and advocacy groups have worked tirelessly to ensure civil rights for all people with disabilities. However, there is still so much work to be done. We continue to face an institutionally biased system, a lack of affordable accessible housing, and systemic barriers to gainful employment, just to name a few. In order to continue to see progress and positive change for people with disabilities, and maintain long term viability of the Disability Rights Movement, it is critical that we actively foster the next generation of disability rights leaders.

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ADAPT Continues Push for Fair Wages

NEW YORK ADAPT SENT STRONG MESSAGE TO GOODWILL THAT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES DESERVE EQUAL PAY!

ADAPT Continues Push for Fair Wages

On Friday, November 7, 2014, roughly 25 disability rights activists with New York ADAPT protested the headquarters of Goodwill Industries of WNY located at 1119 William Street, Buffalo, New York 14206. Activists chanted inside the lobby, spoke with local news stations and met directly with the President and CEO of Goodwill of WNY.

Goodwill of WNY CEO Thomas Lynch stated he is not willing to give up their 14(c) certificate. He believes people with disabilities should be paid subminimum wage. He also refused to write a letter to be faxed to Goodwill International calling for all Goodwill chapters to stop paying people with disabilities subminimum wages. One activist said, “We are actually people who live it and you’re not.”

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Response to Paying Minimum Wage Workers the Minimum Article

Justin YoungResponse to Paying Minimum Wage Workers the Minimum Article

By Justin Young

In the October 3rd, 2014 edition of the Democrat & Chronicle there was an article discussing the issue of equality in minimum wages. The article discussed whether to adjust the state’s minimum wage for so-called “tipped workers” — which is not the $8 an hour most base-salary workers in the state are paid, but a measly $5 an hour. The argument of tipped employees not being paid a minimum wage is valid, but unlike workers with disabilities under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) still have the opportunity to reach minimum wage. Section 14C of the FLSA authorizes agencies to apply for a special certificate paying their workers with disabilities significantly less than the minimum wage levels [2]. Furthermore, a reliable report indicates that nationally, 3,315 employers pay a total of 228,693 people with disabilities below minimum wage and in this report it also indicates a Dutchess county non-profit paid a developmentally disabled employee a penny per hour [3]. Several grass root agencies along with the National Federation of the Blind have pushed for federal legislation to abolish Section 14C which has been on the books for 76 years too long! By permanently eliminating Section 14C it would narrow the gap when it comes to minimum wage equality.

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New Fitness Initiative

Emma WoodwardNew Fitness Initiative to benefit all: from Access to Inclusion

By Emma Woodward

The Center for Disability Rights is pleased to announce that they have been awarded a fitness grant from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to establish a community-wide coalition of fitness providers and develop fitness plans for individuals with disabilities who often do not know how to access fitness programs to meet their needs.

This ground-breaking Fitness grant is intended to promote promising inclusive practices and new innovative approaches needed to make sure everyone in the community has a fitness program that improves their health and well-being. Many fitness providers are already offering inclusive programs and these efforts will be identified and shared with others.

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DOL Enforcement Delay doesn't Help People with Disabilities

Bruce DarlingDOL Enforcement Delay doesn't Help People with Disabilities

By Bruce Darling

DOL announced that it won't enforce the changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act as a way to address the concerns of the Disability Community. Although delaying enforcement may sound like delaying the effective date, the two things are very different, and the DOL announcement that it will delay enforcing the new FLSA companionship rule changes is a hollow, worthless and insulting solution. To explain why, here is a simple analogy...

Just because your friend - who is a cop - says he won't give you a ticket for speeding, doesn't mean EVERY cop is willing to give you a free pass to speed. Similarly, just because DOL says they won't enforce the law, doesn't mean no one will.

DOL understands that there is still a private right of action and those who don't pay time and a half can be sued and forced to pay by the courts.

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