For your reference, below is the email that Liz and I will be sending to our member of Congress, Jan Schakowsky. It is important that your email or phone message be personalized, so please change the email below to your own words and to capture the individual circumstances of your loved one.
Dear Rep. Schakowsky:
Liz and I live in your district in Glenview. Our daughter Sarah lives at Misericordia. As you know, Misericordia serves over 600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities who require around-the-clock care. Sarah is 37 years old, has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair, and is intellectually about three to four years old. She needs assistance to perform all activities of daily living, including dressing, bathing, toileting, eating, and medicating. We are contacting you because we understand that the Raise the Wage Act, HR 582, may be brought up for a vote in the House this month. While we support the primary purpose of the bill to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, we strongly oppose Section 6 of the bill which would phase-out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, we request that you vote AGAINSTthe Raise the Wage Act, unless Section 6 is removed or is modified so that individuals with significant intellectual disabilities, such as those served by Misericordia, can continue to receive the special wages permitted by Section 14(c).
Misericordia operates a number of work programs on its campus. The purpose of these programs is to provide job training to the men and women Misericordia serves and to provide them with a life of dignity. All of these programs operate at a loss. These programs are not operated to make money, they are operated solely to give Misericordia residents the pride and self-esteem that comes from holding a job. If Section 14(c) is phased out, the cost of these work programs would triple. Misericordia would be forced to employ fewer of its residents and employ them for fewer hours. The loss of job opportunities for our loved ones would not be replaced by off-campus jobs. Many Misericordia residents, including our Sarah, could not obtain or maintain an off-campus job at the minimum wage. Sarah's intellectual and behavioral challenges preclude community employment. Her only opportunity at employment is an on-campus job where she can receive the constant care and support she requires. We hope that through Misericordia's excellent training programs that one-day Sarah can hold a job in Misericordia's laundry or recycling program. But, if Section 14(c) is eliminated, that will become impossible.
Therefore, we request that you vote AGAINST the Raise the Wage Act, HR 582, unless Section 6 is removed from the bill or is modified so that Sarah and others with significant intellectual disabilities can continue to receive special wages under Section 14(c). The end of 14(c) would mean the end of our dream that Sarah will one day have a job on Misericordia's campus.
Thank you for your consideration of the above.
Liz and Scott Mendel