The state of Alaska ruled that people with disabilities deserve the same minimum wage as every other worker. Seems like that would be a basic thing — after all, a job is a job, a minimum is a minimum, and a worker is a worker.
But forty-seven of the fifty states still allow employers to pay special sub-minimum wages to workers with disabilities.
And Washington is one of them.
- I’m furious. The minimum is the minimum, period.
- I’m confused. How is this still a thing?
- I’m ready to do something about it. Workers are workers and we all stand together!
- I don't want a one-click answer here I have something else to say.
For eighty years there’s been a loophole in workers rights laws saying that you can be paid less than minimum wage just because you have a disability.
And yet somehow the bosses of these workers don't treat themselves the same way. For example, Goodwill Enterprises pays sub-minimum wages to thousands of disabled workers across the country, while their franchise CEOs together get paid a total of $30 million a year.
We're an organization of workers here in Washington and we're proud of how often our state has led the way on these kinds of issues. So it's a little painful for us to say it, but maybe it’s time we learned from Alaska? (On this one at least?)