On the eve of the anniversary of signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ACCSES – an organization representing service providers – is holding a briefing to promote H.R. 5658, the Workplace Choice and Flexibility for Individuals with Disabilities Act. Contrary to its name, this bill is neither about “choice” or “flexibility” for people with disabilities. The title is doublespeak, intended to mislead the public and Congress about a bill that will limit the options for disabled people and further our segregation.
The purpose of H.R. 5658 is to put money in the pockets of providers and businesses that profit off the exploitation and segregation of the Disability Community. This bill resurrects walls of exclusion by segregating people with disabilities both socially and economically, allowing service providers to keep disabled people in workplaces that are isolated from the rest of society, and to pay those workers pennies on the dollar for the value of their work.
It is dishonest to equate competitive, integrated, community employment with segregated, sub-minimum-wage work, and it is a perversion to call the exploitation of disabled labor “choice”. This naked money grab, by service providers comes at the expense of disabled lives and liberty. ACCSES is actively interfering with our ability to earn a living, support ourselves and live our lives.
ADAPT DEMANDS that ACCSES turn its briefing over to ADAPT and NCIL so that authentic voices of people with disabilities can educate Congress about what real integration looks like in the workplace and our nation.