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Urgent Action Alert: May 17, 2023


May 17, 2023 | by Amber Smock

TODAY: It’s Time to End Disability Subminimum Wage in Illinois!

Access Living friends and allies,

Today, we need advocates to step up to ask our Illinois legislators to say YES to HB 793, also known as the Dignity in Pay Act. It’s time to end the subminimum wage in Illinois! For the last several years, disability advocates and providers have been working slowly but surely to change disability employment in Illinois, away from paying disabled people subminimum wage, and towards paying at least minimum wage. Here’s the link to take immediate action in support of the Dignity in Pay Act.

Illinois’ legislative session ends this week on Friday, so we need you NOW!

Why does the subminimum wage need to be phased out? For decades, many people with disabilities were not considered to be “real workers” like non-disabled people. But the reality is that people with disabilities want the opportunity to be paid real wages for the real work they do. It should not matter if you need extra supports to do your job—you’re still doing your job. The film “Bottom Dollars” does a great job at explaining the history of the disability subminimum wage, and why disabled people want change. 

Is Illinois ready to phase out the subminimum wage? Yes! The City of Chicago is already phasing it out, and Governor Pritzker issued an Executive Order that phases it out for state-use contracts. People with disabilities and providers are already working to shift the employment/pay models as necessary. This has been a long and hard process for all stakeholders involved, but the fact that we could get this bill passed is a testimony to everyone’s dedication to the idea that we all deserve “dignity in pay.”

Don’t wait to send your advocacy email TODAY! Again, use this quick link to let your state legislators know we need to pass this bill ASAP before Friday! The time is now. Please share this call to action with your Illinois networks. Thank you for your advocacy!

Supporting Organizations

In alphabetical order: Access Living, Arc of Illinois, Equip for Equality, IARF, Illinois Association of the Deaf, Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD), Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL), National Association of the Deaf, National Federation of the Blind-Illinois, SEIU HCIIMK, and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law.

Organizations interested in supporting the Dignity in Pay Act can contact our Economic Justice Policy Analyst, Nick Boyle, at nboyle@accessliving.org