Bottom Dollars | A Rooted in Rights Original Documentary


Video transcript

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We can’t end subminimum wage when so many people don’t even know about the issue. Get involved, host a screening and start a movement in your community. Use the form below to sign-up. If you have any issues accessing the form, please email us.

“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.
* 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.

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?

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

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