Dear Families:
´╗┐
Please see the belowMessage from Scott Mendel. We need everyone to reach out to your US Representative (not your state representative/senator) as soon as possible. Phone calls and emails from constituents are the only way where our voices will be heard. Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your schedule for this important request.
 
Thank you!
 
Sincerely,
 
Sister Rosemary 


Dear Families:
 
It is important that you email or call your congressman in Washington, DC by MAY 10 and ask him or her to vote AGAINST the federal Raise the Wage Act, HR 582. We have been informed that this bill will be brought up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in the next few weeks. It is critical that your member of Congress understand how this bill will negatively affect Misericordia and your family member. The primary purpose of the bill is to raise the minimum wage nationwide to $15.00 per hour over the next few years. Misericordia supports this part of the bill. However, Section 6 of the bill would phase out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Section 14(c) permits employers to pay individuals with disabilities a specialized wage based on their ability to perform the job. The purpose of Section 14(c) is to help individuals with disabilities to obtain employment. Misericordia pays approximately 130 of our family members a special wage under Section 14(c) to work in the various on-campus work programs such as the restaurant, art department, bakery, coffee packaging, laundry and recycling. All of these work programs lose money, even with the use of special wages. If Section 14(c) is phased out and Misericordia were required to pay the prevailing wage to all of our family members who work in the on-campus work programs, Misericordia's employment costs for these residents would triple. The result would be that Misericordia would have to employ fewer of our family members and for fewer hours per week. This loss of employment would mean that our family members would lose important training opportunities and the dignity and self-esteem they feel from having a job and earning a pay check regardless of the amount. We have found in our discussions with members of Congress that they do not realize that the Raise the Wage Act will phase out Section 14(c) and they have no idea how the phase-out will impact Misericordia. Most members think the bill will only raise the minimum wage. It is extremely important that you educate them about this bill and explain why you oppose it.
 
Therefore, we are asking every family member to email or call his or her member of Congress by May 10 and ask them to vote AGAINST the Raise the Wage Act, HR 582, unless Section 6 of the Act is removed or is amended so that individuals with significant intellectual disabilities, like our loved ones, can continue to receive special wages under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. We are not asking you to contact Illinois' senators at this time because the bill is not scheduled for a vote in the Senate.
 
In this case, an email to your congressman is much better than a phone call because there is a lot of information that needs to be conveyed to him or her.  
 
´╗┐Below is the information we suggest you include in your email:
 
  1. Where you live and that you are a constituent of the congressman you are contacting
  2. Your child (provide his or her name) lives at Misericordia in Chicago
  3. Misericordia provides residential and vocational services to over 600 children and adults who require around the clock care and support
  4. Explain your loved one's disability and level of functioning
  5. You are emailing or calling about the Raise the Wage Act, HR 582
  6. You are asking that the congressman vote AGAINST the Raise the Wage Act, unless Section 6 of the Act is removed or amended
  7.  You support raising the minimum wage but Section 6 proposes to phase out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act
  8.  Misericordia operates a number of work programs on its campus that rely on Section 14(c)
  9. If it is the case, describe why your loved one cannot obtain or maintain a job off the campus at minimum wage
  10. If your loved one does have an off-campus job, explain how it is only for a few hours a week and he or she spends the rest of her week in Misericordia's on-campus work programs.
  11. If your loved one is involved in Misericordia's on-campus work programs, explain what he or she does and what that job means to him or her.
  12. Explain that the elimination of Section 14(c) would triple the cost of Misericordia's work programs, requiring Miz to reduce the number of jobs and hours in its work programs.
  13. Explain what it would mean to your loved one if he or she lost her on-campus job or jobs.
  14. If your loved one does not currently have an on-campus job explain your hope that he or she will at some point have the skills to hold such a job, but that would only be possible if he or she could receive a special wage under Section 14(c).
  15. Repeat your request that your congressman vote against the Raise the Wage Act, HR 582, unless Section 6 is removed from the bill or is amended to permit individuals with significant intellectual disabilities to continue to receive special wages under Section 14(c).
 
If you are going to call your congressman and leave a voice message, instead of sending an email, below is a shorter outline of the information to include that you can hopefully convey in the limited time the voice messaging system provides:
 
  1. Give your name and where you live and tell the congressman that you are a constituent.
  2.  Give your family member's name and say that he or she lives at Misericordia in Chicago.
  3. Explain that Misericordia services 600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities
  4. Explain that you are calling about the Raise the Wage Act, HR 582
  5. Explain that you are opposed to the Raise the Wage Act because Section 6 of the Act would phase out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  6. Explain that your loved one at Misericordia needs Section 14(c) in order to have a job. The elimination of Section 14(c) will hinder your loved one's ability to be employed.
  7. Ask the congressman to vote against the Raise the Wage Act unless Section 6 is removed from the bill or modified so that you loved one can continue to receive 14(c) wages.
 
 

 
Sample Letter
 
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.
 
Sincerely,
Liz and Scott Mendel