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. Decades 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?
A free version of the Bottom Dollars documentary is available on our Bottom Dollars YouTube playlist. The playlist includes a promo and the full documentary split into individual chapters. Community members and organizations are welcome to screen this documentary for educational purposes, as long as participants are not charged an admittance fee.
Disability Rights Washington Reports
Hours That Count, November 2014
In the News
- Bottom Dollars wins prestigious Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award from the National Federation of the Blind
- Seattle plans to end subminimum wage.
- Special Seattle Screening of Bottom Dollars to be held July 13th
- Raise the Wage Act would increase federal minimum wage and phases out sub-minimum wage
- Bottom Dollars wins Jury Prize at Show Me Justice Film Festival at University of Central Missouri
- Trump Labor Secretary pick is open to eliminating the sub-minimum wage
- Director Jordan Melograna and NDRN Expert Cheryl Bates-Harris talk Bottom Dollars on the TalkPoverty Podcast
- NDRN’s Curt Decker calls for end to sub-minimum wages
- Segregated and Exploited from the National Disability Rights Network
- More on Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act from the National Federation of the Blind
- In These Times covers discussion of ending subminimum wage
- The Seattle Office of Labor Standards Recovers More Than $40,000 in Subminimum Wage Violations on Behalf of Workers with Disabilities
Official Selection for the Workers Unite Film Festival, 2018