ADAPT Calls on President Obama to Fulfill his Promise

ADAPT calls on President Obama to fulfill his promise during the campaign that the voice of the disability community would be the guiding voice in the debate over the companionship exemption by delaying release of the final companionship rules and facilitating a process that brings the disability community and labor to the same table to work these issues out and develop rules that support both attendant service users and the attendants who assist them.

 Although these rules have been publicly praised by progressives and organized labor, many organizations within the disability community have expressed concerns that the proposed rules will:

    – Force seniors and people with disabilities into institutions;

   – Cut the take-home pay of attendants;

   – Reduce the attendant workforce;

   – Force people with disabilities to hire strangers as attendants; and

   – Devastate consumer directed programs.

 The US Department of Labor developed and published these rules without input from the disability community, even though President Obama had issued an Executive Order (13563) that instructed federal agencies to engage all stakeholders before issuing proposed rules.   The DOL analysis of the impact of these proposed rules indicated that these rules would result in the institutionalization of people with disabilities and failed to even assess the impact on consumer-directed personal assistance services.  During discussions with the Department of Labor, they indicated that these rules would not be enforced on private households, but would apply to the vast majority of Medicaid recipients, further destabilizing the workforce available for Medicaid attendant service users.

 During a campaign that lasted more than a year, ADAPT, NCIL and other disability organizations urged the Obama Administration to find a way to engage the disability community.   We even proposed a compromise that would cover 70 percent of attendants, but allow the disability community to be engaged in the process of developing rules that impact consumer-directed service.  During the Presidential campaign, the White House assured the disability community that our voice would be the “guiding voice” in the debate about these rules.

 The National Council on Disability scheduled a meeting of all stakeholders in late January 2013 that could have provided the opportunity for the disability community to provide input.  Less than two weeks before the NCD meeting, the White House sent the rules to the Office of Management and Budget to be finalized, preventing the disability community from being engaged in a process that could impact the proposed rules.

 In the Spring, Senator Harkin’s HELP Committee staff facilitated a meeting between organized labor and the disability community which was intended to start a process of discussion between the labor unions and disability community so we could jointly go to the administration with a proposal that would meet all of our needs.  Although the unions were not responsive during that meeting, after protests by ADAPT they agreed to come to the table with proposals.  Regular meetings began with SEIU, and ADAPT felt we were making substantive progress in finding a way forward that would support both labor and the disability community.

 With very little notice, Secretary Tom Perez announced he was holding listening sessions about the rules in late August.  This seemed to signal that the Obama Administration was likely bringing the rules back to the Department of Labor where he could engage the disability community.  This process could have been the starting point for substantive discussions about the real-world impact of these proposed rules.  We understand that instead of doing that, administration intends to release the rules for Labor Day.

 This indicates that the listening session wasn’t intended to bring the disability community to the table, but instead was designed to undercut our criticism of the process and give the administration a response to our concerns about the lack of engagement.  ADAPT is appalled that it is clear Secretary Perez started a process that will go nowhere.  This decision also – once again – undercut our efforts to be engaged in the process by rendering the meetings between ADAPT and SEIU as meaningless.

 If President Obama, Secretary Perez and the Obama administration truly support the disability community and believe in keeping campaign promises, they will delay these rules and formalize the process begun by ADAPT and SEIU to find common ground between the disability community and organized labor.

 There is precedent for such a process.  The Obama administration had facilitated such meetings among the leadership of the LGBT, African American and Latino communities to resolve conflicts over marriage equality.  They should do the same in this case involving leadership from ADAPT, other disability-led organizations, and organized labor.  We should expect no less, because the cohesiveness of the progressive caucus is more important than any public relations event the administration intends to hold.

 We have only ever wanted to be fully included in decisions that affect our lives and worked toward that end.  Instead of being given a seat at the table, we have had a door slammed in our face.

 NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US!

 The ADAPT Community

Powerful Special Discussion Today with First Woman Speaker of the US House of Representatives and current House Democratice Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressman John Tierney

Today ILCNSCA was able to attend, along with over 100 other participants, a discussion with Nancy Pelosi, our first ever woman Speaker of the US House of Representatives and Congressman John Tierney on the newly announced ‘When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families”. This event was set up by Congressman John Tierney, an avid and consistent advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities, education for all, employment access for all, as well as a livable wage. North Shore Community College hosted this event held at the Cummings Center, Beverly, MA with a welcome by Janice Forssttrom, Interim President of NSCC. Ana Perdomo, a Lynn Family Childcare Provider discussed the lack of child care vouchers, increased state requirements, and poor wage issues that has put child care opportunities out of reach by many women who need employment and education for employment, as well as the decreasing numbers of child care providers who take in less than the cost, and thus go out of business.  Ana described the need for protections for mothers who use child care to have paid sick days, as many children are sent to child care who have illnesses as the mother cannot take time off from work without losing wages and/or her job. Patricia Fae Ho, President of the American Association of University Women and a Beverly MA resident spoke of the need for increased access to affordable education by women, especially in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) area where there is high demand for workers in MA. Equal pay for equal work, with women still making significantly less than men (roughly 23% less), along with education access for certifications, associates, bachelors, and other degrees is critical for women to achieve economic stability for them and their families. Congressman Tierney spoke of the various legislation he has been working on including the Workforce Investment Act, to address economic, social and cultural equity for women and their families, especially a living wage along with equal pay for equal work. He introduced Nancy Pelosi who discussed the history of women gaining access to rights, starting with Seneca Falls, 165 years ago, Womens Right to Vote, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution (August 26, 1920), Equal Pay Act of 1963 (signed by President John F. Kennedy), and need for livable wage, as most of those in poverty in the USA are working, yet make less than the US poverty level due to low wages. She also called on all of us to make a decision, do we want women to make equal pay, have access to child care, have access to educational opportunities, or not. And if so, then all need to clearly support this necessary agenda in Congress, keeping Congress focused on these issues. Questions/input was taken from the audience as this was also a listening opportunity for two important members for Congress. Input was given on: Need for insuring women with disabilities needs for not saying they are unable to work to get access to health services, housing, transportation, medications, adaptive equipment, etc under revisions to the Workforce Investment Act are included along with protections of women with disabilities who are losing their children due to stigma/myths of having disabilities and lack of access to childcare and other supports; Need for flexibility for women in the workplace for time to be with their children along with livable wage, paid vacations, paid sick time to be with their children when they are sick, or meeting with their children’s teachers, etc as well as increasing the number of hours per day that children are in school, learning the necessary skills, and receiving supervision while parents can work; Need to insure that women veterans, the highest percentage of the USA’s current homeless population, receives what they need;

Overall, this was a powerful event, and historic gathering, for ILCNSCA on the North Shore. The energy from the audience, the commitment by two leaders in Congress during a time of disillusionment by many with Congress, and the diverse audience (many of whom were women, some who were state and municipal elected women officials, education administrators, teachers, aides, along with non-profit and entrepreneurial business women, as well as women working in all different types of industry, some making livable and some making non-livable wages) sent a message that women are committed to this agenda. The men present, modeled by Congressman John Tierney, who stated ‘ do you want your sister, mother, wife, daughter, cousin, not to make a livable, fair wage? do you want to tell your sister, mother, wife, daughter, cousin that she cannot be economically independent and self-sufficient because you are not in support of child care, access to increased educational opportunities, and equal pay?”. And ILCNSCA insured that those women, and men, living with disabilities are included in this agenda, as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi stated, we are taking people where they are in this agenda, and including all.

So, get on board, support this agenda, make sure that those of us living with disabilities are a part of crafting this agenda, and push for S. 1356 by calling Senators Warren and Markey today, and working with ILCNSCA and Congressman John Tierney on the house version of the Workforce Investment Act. Thank you, Mary Margaret, a big fan of dialogue with our elected officials, especially Congressman John Tierney.

 

Danvers De-Clutter’s Group Starts Thursday September 26!

Come Yourself, or with your Friends, or Anyone Involved are Welcome!
Sponsored by The Longevity Connection at North Shore Elder Services
De-Clutterers’ Group  10:00am – 11:30am 10 WEEK GROUP  FREE  Starts Thursday, September 26 held at 152 Sylvan Street  Danvers, MA 01923 ALL Ages Welcomed!
Danvers Residents, Family For more information please contact:
Marnie McDonald 978-539-8254 or via email to: mmcdonald@nselder.org
Does your clutter create safety issues in your home?
Is clutter affecting you at home, work or in your relationships?
Are you embarrassed or ashamed to have people in your home?
Are your possessions taking over your home?
**MUST REGISTER BY Monday, September 23, 2013
The Longevity Connection  North Shore Center For Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering

North Shore and Cape Ann Update on ADA Proclamation Community Support for 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The ILCNSCA each year invites every municipality on the North Shore and Cape Ann to reaffirm the ADA commitment to full inclusion and civil rights for all citizens with disabilities. We put on our web site the actual Proclamations received and issue this thank you press release and thus the Independent Living Center of the North Shore & Cape Ann (ILCNSCA), Inc. would like to take this opportunity to thank the following cities and towns for issuing their municipal ADA Proclamation in recognition of July 26, 2013, the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act:

 

Beverly

Danvers

Essex

Ipswich

Lynn

Marblehead

Nahant

Peabody

Rockport

Rowley

Salem

Saugus

Stoneham

Topsfield

Wakefield

Wenham

 

The other ten municipalities that we invited to proclaim their support for the ADA chose not to issue a proclamation endorsing their commitment to the civil and human rights defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990 by President George H. Bush. Those municipalities are:

 

Gloucester

Hamilton

Lynnfield

Manchester-By-The-Sea

Melrose

Middleton

North Reading

Reading

Swampscott

 

We hope next July more municipalities will become more committed to inclusiveness as defined in the ADA, as we know those of us living with disabilities are everywhere and comprise 20% at minimum of the USA population.

Please visit our site to view all the Proclamations presented: http://www.ilcnsca.org/adaproc.php

 

We look forward to the day that all members of every community are included in all activities, businesses, and environments with respect and camaraderie.