Senators Call For End To Subminimum Wage Exploitation

Subminimum wages for workers with disabilities came under fire this week as a group of U.S. senators called for an end to the “discriminatory” practice and an Illinois manufacturing company was accused of exploiting nearly 250 employees.

Lawmakers sent a five-page letter to the U.S. Department of Labor on April 23, the same day that the department announced that Rock River Valley Self Help Enterprises had violated federal employment law and owed two years’ worth of back pay to workers who earned less than minimum wage.

Seven Democratic senators, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, wrote that the lower pay “permits employers to discriminate against workers on the basis of disability status and unjustifiably sets low expectations for workers with disabilities.”

Catherine James