End Subminimum Wage in New Mexico!

End Subminimum Wage in New Mexico!

48 have signed. Let’s get to 50!

Why this petition matters

Started by Aaron Anderson

Since the 1930s, it has been legal for businesses to pay workers with disabilities below the federal minimum wage -- sometimes for only cents per hour. Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act allows those businesses to acquire certification for paying subminimum wage. Decades ago, the U.S. government intended 14(c) to convince businesses to hire individuals with disabilities when they were not otherwise inclined to pay those employees at the same level as those without disabilities.

This law has endured for so long because of widespread assumptions that workers with disabilities do not have the same rates of productivity as their non-disabled colleagues. But, of course, the standards for quantifying productivity are shaky at best, and they do not reflect the true potential of the workers in question. In fact, upon the inception of 14(c), subminimum wage was intended as training-level pay. Several states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, and more -- have already recognized the faulty groundwork that 14(c) stands on and repealed subminimum wage.

New Mexico is about to follow suit and repeal this backwards policy as well. Three major companies in New Mexico are certified to pay subminimum wage (New Mexico Advisory Committee, 2021), one of which (Adelante Development Center) was recently served with a lawsuit for paying their workers as low as 18 cents an hour.

If you believe that laws permitting subminimum wages are simply unjust, then please join our campaign by signing this petition. Giving workers with disabilities such minuscule compensation, not to mention making it more difficult for them to survive, should not be allowed by any means. The opportunity for overturning this law in New Mexico is ripe, as there is an upcoming legislative session to do away with subminimum wage in our state for good. Some believe that overturning 14(c) would result in no jobs at all for individuals with disabilities (Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board, 2021), but this is not the case. With the provisions of the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act, workers with disabilities have more access to options of "competitive integrated employment," wherein they could avoid businesses paying subminimum wage and be more fairly integrated with coworkers without disabilities in various workplaces.

Help us secure a more optimistic future for workers with disabilities by urging New Mexico lawmakers to do away with subminimum wage permanently! We thank you wholeheartedly for your support.



Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board. (2021, March 10). Editorial: Two wrongheaded bills target disabled, high school workers. Albuquerque Journal. https://www.abqjournal.com/2367848/two-wrongheaded-bills-target-disabled-high-school-workers.html 

New Mexico Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. (2021). Advisory memorandum: Wage theft & subminimum wages. https://www.usccr.gov/files/2021/04-15-NM-Advisory-Memorandum-Wages.pdf 

48 have signed. Let’s get to 50!