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“I can’t say enough as to the importance of screening Bottom Dollars. For our staff it was a revelation as to the dirty secret that is sub-minimum wage. For our community, it was an awakening that despite the ADA and other prominent federal laws, people with disabilities are legally being deprived their right to earn pay commensurate with their work. Truly the film is a call to action.” – Anastasia Bacigalupo, Executive Director, Westside Center for Independent Living, Los Angeles.
About the Film
When the Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938, it included a revolutionary civil rights protection: a minimum wage. American workers could no longer be exploited for their hard work – with one huge exception. Section 14(c) of the Act included an exemption allowing some workers, people with disabilities, to be paid less than minimum wage.
This provision was originally designed to persuade employers to hire people with disabilities and open up opportunities. Instead, people with disabilities were often employed in “sheltered workshops,” segregated workplaces away from their communities, earning sub-minimum wage. 78 years later, 14(c) remains in effect.
In 2016, nearly 250,000 people are legally paid less than the minimum wage, on average, less than $2 an hour. “Bottom Dollars” is an hour long documentary that exposes the exploitation of people with disabilities through personal stories and expert interviews. It also presents clear employment alternatives with competitive wages and community inclusion.
Do we want all people to have a shot at a job for fair pay in their own communities, or do we want some people to be separated, exploited and robbed of their chance to seize the American dream for themselves?