Bottom Dollars | A Rooted in Rights Original Documentary


Video transcript

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?

Full Closing Credits

Where do workers with disabilities make sub-minimum wage?

These are the locations of organizations that hold 14(c) certificates from the US Department of Labor that allows them to legally pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage.

The numbers that appear next to the location markers represent the reported number of workers paid sub-minimum wage.

NOTE: Some locations that only listed mailing or inaccurate addresses are not show here.

Source: US Department of Labor

Host a screening

Anyone can host a screening of Bottom Dollars. Screening the full length documentary is a great way to bring people together and spark discussion on the issue of sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities. Screenings are great for university and college curriculum, community meetings and conferences.

Click here to submit a screening request and access video streaming of the film.  If you have any issues accessing the form, please email us.

* We have discontinued the production of DVDs for this project. Please click here to buy or rent the film for streaming or download. We want everyone to be able to access this film, so if you are unable to play a digital copy or have a financial barrier to buying or renting the film, please email us.

Press kit & screening materials

Get the film for streaming or download.

Checklist for hosting an accessible event.  Word PDF.

Discussion guide (PDF)

Discussion Guide Audio Format (MP3)

Discussion Guide Text-Only (Word)

White Bottom Dollars logo on transparent (.png)

Black Bottom Dollars logo (.jpeg)

Synopses and filmmaker bios (PDF)

Sample press release

Main Characters

Download photo of Brendan Welch

Brendan Welch | Concord, NH

Download photo of Tillman Mitchell

Tillman Mitchell | Vicksburg, MS

Download photo of Gloria Marrero

Gloria Marrero | Rochester, NY

Download photo of Sara Frost

Sara Frost | South Hampton, NH

Download photo of Andy Owens

Andy Owens | Portland, OR

Download photo of Charles Biebl

Charles Biebl | Baltimore, MD

Download photo of Dexter Smith

Dexter Smith | Gallup, NM

Download photo of Hugh Bertolin

Hugh Bertolin | Olympia, WA

Download photo of Joe Steffy

Joe Steffy | Louisburg, KS

Download photo of Pamela Steward

Pamela Steward | Tiffin, OH

Download photo of Trust Jones

Trust Jones | Branson, MS

Download photo of Le'Ron Jackson

Le'Ron Jackson | Jackson, MS


Download photo of Jordan Melograna

Jordan Melograna | Director & Producer

Download photo of Mark Storh

Mark Stroh | Executive Producer

Download photo of David Carlson

David Carlson | Executive Producer

Download photo of Tina Pinedo

Tina Pinedo | Associate Producer