The Squeaky Wheel
Now that I'm back to a regular work week after the Independence Day holiday, I've been fantasizing about what it would be like if a major labor shortage occurred and the corporations were forced to woo potential employees in much the same way, rather than having the luxury of discriminating against anyone who doesn't fit their fossilized norms.
Imaginary Employer: Please, pretty please, come and work for our company! We're so very thrilled that you are considering us! You can leave early every Friday, and it's just fine with us if you take blogging breaks during the workday. Just let us know if there are any accommodations you would like; we don't care if you have a diagnosis or not, because we want all of our employees to be as comfortable and productive as they can be.
Yeah, okay, it's a fantasy. But maybe we'll get there in 50 years or so, after all of the developing countries are fully industrialized, birthrates fall drastically all over the world, and the corporations discover that there are no more desperate peasants grateful for the chance to work for pennies.
In the meanwhile, there's a presidential campaign event that can help to raise the candidates' awareness of what it's really like for many workers with disabilities in today's abysmal economy. The National Forum on Disability Issues, which is sponsored in part by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and The Autism Acceptance Project, is scheduled to take place in Columbus, Ohio, on July 26, 2008. To make sure that the candidates show up, we need to contact their campaigns and make sure they understand the importance of addressing disability issues. Here is the contact information:
Sen. Barack Obama
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680
Call: (866) 675-2008
Fax: (312) 819-2089
Email: Alyssa Mastromonaco, email@example.com (Chief Scheduler); Heather Higginbottom, firstname.lastname@example.org (Policy Director); David Plouffe, email@example.com (Campaign Manager)
Sen. John McCain
John McCain 2008
P.O. Box 16118
Arlington, VA 22215
Call: (703) 418-2008
Faxes: (703) 752-2515, (703) 413-0740
Email: Steve Schmidt, firstname.lastname@example.org (day-to-day operations); Carla Eudy, email@example.com (National Scheduler); Doug Holtz-Eakin, firstname.lastname@example.org (Deputy Policy Director); Donna Jones, email@example.com (National Coordinator, Americans with Disabilities for McCain Coalition)
For those who are planning to attend other campaign events in the next two weeks, holding up signs about the disability forum at those other events also would help to get some attention.
Also, Sen. McCain's campaign needs to be contacted regarding the Community Choice Act, which will give states much more flexibility in providing community services to Medicaid recipients who might otherwise have no options but institutional care. At present, Sen. McCain opposes the Community Choice Act, and he needs to be made aware of the error of his ways.
Sen. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Community Choice Act and has spoken about its importance to the civil rights of people with disabilities.
Edit, July 10: Those who write to Sen. McCain regarding the Community Choice Act should do so SEPARATELY from any communications about the disability forum, as we would not want to give him the impression that it would be an unfriendly forum.