While Sunday isn't typically a day for catching the notice of one’s elected officials, whenever day of the week it is doesn't stop ADAPT from getting its organizational point across. Activists gathered outside the Holiday Inn Capitol and departed for destinations unknown. Although, it later turned out to be the Department of Labor. Many in the disability community, including ADAPT, have been wary of the Department of Labor's (DOL) proposed changes to the companionship exemption which allows personal care attendants (PCA) to be exempt from overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
To be clear, ADAPT is not opposed to raising wages for PCA. In fact, according to Bruce Darling, one of ADAPT’s leadership team, ADAPT was the first organization working on the wages for PCA. The difference between ADAPT’s aims and the purposed DOL rule changes is that ADAPT’s goal is to improve the situation of everyone while the DOL is only focused on the needs of certain PCA. It has also been reported that many of the PCA affected by the rule changes will be negatively affected.
While at the DOL, in addition to discussing the rule changes, there was also much discussion as to Senator Tom Harkin’s report on expectations of and for young people with disabilities. After the event concluded, the group marched back to the hotel to have an all attendee meeting, featuring special guest Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones.
Mr. Jones listened as member after member detailed the hardship of locating housing, either because of landlord refusal to accept various vouchers, access needs, or retaliatory behavior for requesting accommodations or property upkeep, among other things. He promised to look into quite a few particularly egregious cases.
Members were told to be in the lobby at 9a.m. When they will once again depart for an as of yet undisclosed location.