Jeff Sessions rolls back disability rights at work … and guess what? Rich people benefit.

Jeff Sessions rolls back disability rights at work … and guess what? Rich people benefit.

Jeff Sessions rolls back disability rights at work … and guess what? Rich people benefit.
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Attorney general and racist Keebler elf Jefferson Sessions gave people with disabilities something worse than a lump of coal for Christmas—he rescinded
10 documents offering guidance on disability rights. One, from 2016,
protected people with disabilities
from exploitation on the job and ensured that they had the chance to move into integrated job settings if able to do so. There’s real money in taking
away these rights, David Perry reports at Pacific Standard:

block quote
Segregated workshops are legally allowed to pay disabled workers
pennies per hour.
They are incredibly lucrative, and often their owners use their wealth to buy political access. But in 2015, a class action suit in Oregon (
Lane v. Brown)
a consent decree in Rhode Island
resulted in the new DOJ guidelines: Basically, everyone deserves an opportunity to work in integrated settings. That’s only possible if education systems,
workplaces, and housing providers play by the same sets of rules governing the public and private mechanisms of disability rights work together.
block quote end

So repealing the guideline makes it more likely that the wealthy owners of segregated workshops can continue to profit from the labor of underpaid disabled
workers, blocking them from moving toward integrated work.

block quote
Sessions has a well-known
general antipathy to federal enforcement of disability rights,
so he’s the perfect figure to use in rolling back this Olmstead guidance. Here, we merely have to follow the money. As [former deputy assistant attorney
general for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division Eve] Hill notes, “People who pay people with disabilities below the minimum wage get contracts that pay the
regular fair market value even though they pay below minimum wage.” Many sheltered workshops are extremely profitable enterprises, grossing considerable
income from the work itself,
while presenting themselves to the public as educational or charitable enterprises.

There’s strong evidence to support the conjecture that the sheltered-workshop lobbyists are behind the latest DOJ move. Numerous people sent me a copy
of a letter from
an organization that represents a variety of sheltered-workshop providers. They are celebrating. They had lobbied the DOJ to take this document down in
August, and now they feel that Sessions has listened to their concerns and is going to protect their investments. (ACCSES did not respond to requests for
block quote end

Promoting sub-minimum wage jobs, keeping disabled people from reaching their full potential, and enriching people who profit off of the sub-minimum wage
labor of disabled people? That’s like a Trump administration policy straight from central casting.



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