Subminimum Wage Protest: Disability Advocates Protest SourceAmerica

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On Thursday, August 28, members of APSE, the National Federation of the Blind, the National Council on Independent Living, ADAPT, Little People of America, and TASH participated in a protest outside of the headquarters of SourceAmerica  SourceAmerica 1(formerly the National Industries for the Severly Handicapped or NISH) in Vienna, VA.

SourceAmerica is responsible for distributing government contracts to nonprofits. This informational protest was to raise awareness of SourceAmerica’s discrimination against workers with disabilities by awarding contracts to some nonprofits that pay people with disabilities subminimum wages. We think it is important to share that we understand that SourceAmerica is taking steps to change their practices but we believe these changes are not substantial enough.


Since 1938, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act has allowed entities to pay workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage. However, just because it is legal, does not mean it is right. With a good job match, proper training and support, individuals with all types of disabilities have been shown to be productive employees that earn at least the minimum wage. SourceAmerica refuses to adopt 21st century business models and instead chooses to support this antiquated and discriminatory provision.

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  • Supports the payment of subminimum wages to Americans with disabilities.

  • Profits from exploiting workers with disabilities rather than training them to reach their full potential.

  • Lobbies against the responsible phase out of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

  • Ignores the demand of seventy-five disability-oriented groups in their quest for equal pay.

  • Fosters the dependency of Americans with disabilities on government assistance.

Help us URGE SourceAmerica to adopt 21st century business practices that provide the education, training, and support for Americans with disabilities to be productive and valuable employees; and to support fair wages for workers with disabilities.

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