In response to The Sun's editorial, "Pennies per hour" (June 23), it needs to be clarified that The Arc Maryland does not hold a 14(c) certificate and does not pay Marylanders, including those with disabilities, subminimum wages. As an advocacy organization, The Arc Maryland does not include jobs that "calculate wages based on a formula that compares their employees' productivity against that of non-disabled workers performing the same tasks," as the editorial stated.
The mission of The Arc Maryland is to "work to create a world where children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have and enjoy equal rights and opportunities."
The Arc Maryland has recently made statements in agreement that subminimum wages for disabled workers is an issue that needs to be addressed in our state, and it is presently forming a workgroup with all 10 of our local chapters and other partner organizations to work through the complexities and potential consequences around phasing out subminimum wages and ultimately develop a state plan that will result in fair wages for all Marylanders.
We are glad the editorial highlighted the great work being done at The Arc Baltimore to phase out its subminimum wage and sheltered workplace programs while still acknowledging the very real challenges of providing employment for clients with the most severe disabilities, making sure that no one is left behind as progress is made on this important initiative.
The Arc Maryland hopes to be a leader in working with stakeholders across the state to address this issue and give all workers with disabilities a fair wage. With approximately 7,000 members throughout Maryland, The Arc Maryland is the largest and strongest statewide advocacy organization advocating on behalf of and with persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in Maryland. Our membership includes people with developmental disabilities, parents and other family members, educators, professionals, and interested persons from the general public. For more information, visit thearcmd.org .
Carol Fried, Annapolis
The writer is president of The Arc Maryland.
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