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Coffey, Rosenthal Fight to Protect Workers with Disabilities

Statehouse officials are warning that legislation pending in the Illinois House of Representatives (HB 793) would negatively impact 14(c) workshops across the state if passed through the General Assembly. State Representative Mike Coffey (R-Springfield) and State Representative Wayne Rosenthal (R-Morrisonville) both agree that this bill would create lost jobs and opportunities and put service providers out of work.

“While this bill sounds good in theory, it would ultimately lead to individuals losing their job and having zero income,” said Rep. Coffey. “Service providers do a fantastic job, but many of them would be unable to pay minimum wage to their employees if this bill is passed. Protecting our job force should be a priority and this bill does the opposite.”

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities work under a 14(c) certificate, which allows them to earn a subminimum wage. This approach provides job opportunities and allows service providers to offer efficient services to disabled individuals.

Rep. Rosenthal said, “Ending 14(c) workshops would create a mass layoff from service providers, and that would be devastating to thousands of people who would be left with no job at all. HB793 is guaranteed to reduce the quality of care service providers currently offer. We must preserve commonsense legislation that protects jobs and creates opportunities.”

HB793 would require 14(c) workshops to pay minimum wage to all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As written, this bill provides no financial assistance and would leave service providers scrambling to find a way to pick up the extra costs. Illinois needs to support workers, but this approach is an unknown strategy to work that will have consequences on employees and providers.

SPARC CEO Douglas McDonald voiced his concerns about this bill. “Implementing HB793 would be a tremendous undertaking with high risks,” said McDonald. It is essential that any substantial change in services be carefully considered before any action is taken. This bill pushes for implementation before studying the needs, protections, and costs involved.”

Listen to a portion of the press conference here.


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