VIDEO: Bottom Dollars

“How would you like to work for two weeks, and come out with a $6 check?” That’s the reality for almost 250,000 Americans with disabilities who are paid below the minimum wage. Bottom Dollars exposes this exploitative system and offers solutions to end segregation and discrimination against workers with disabilities.

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