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Former Gov. David Paterson, Blind Community Fight Sub-Minimum Wage For Disabled Workers

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Instead of celebrating the triumphs of the Americans with Disabilities Act, members of the blind community are commemorating its 21st anniversary by protesting for fair wages.

Signed into law July 26, 1990 -- 21 years ago today -- the Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that people with disabilities get equal opportunities in employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities and transportation, according the ADA website.

However, equality in the workplace may be threatened if the Workforce Investment Act is reauthorized next week. The act, which provides job-search services, could allow companies to pay some disabled workers less than minimum wage while getting trained, the Disability Scoop reports.

Former New York State Governor David A. Paterson has joined forces with the National Federation of the Blind to combat the proposed wage discrimination, the organization reported in a press release.

"On the eve of the twenty-first anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is more than appropriate that we call for the language that would reauthorize the practice of paying subminimum wages to Americans with disabilities to be stricken from the Workforce Investment Act," Paterson shared with the National Federation of the Blind.

Members of the disabled community are scheduled to protest Tuesday before senators, across the country, serving on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which is slated to vote on the act on Aug. 3.

One such group will protest at Sen. Mark Kirk's office in Springfield, Ill.

"Some people are making a fourth of the minimum wage," protest coordinator Cathy Randall told My Journal Courier. "Right now, only disabled people and prisoners are paid sub-minimum wages in the United States."

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