Today in labor history: Americans with Disabilities Act signed into law

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law today in 1990. It requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to qualified disabled employees and bans discrimination against such workers. It also guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications. The law was hailed as the largest civil rights victory ever as approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population are disabled. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a disabled veteran, issued a statement marking the ADA’s anniversary, hailing its historic nature while pushing to fully implement the law.

“Despite the victory the ADA provided for Americans with disabilities, there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure that it is fully implemented and that people with disabilities around the globe have similar protections. The fact that swimming pools were not required to be ADA complaint until last year proves that the work to provide rights to disabled persons is an ongoing process that is far from complete,” the statement read.

Duckworth also called on the U.S. Senate to “honor the passage of the ADA by ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a treaty that would help guarantee access and protections for people with disabilities worldwide. This treaty has strong support from both the disability rights community and numerous Veterans organizations and its ratification would reaffirm the United States as a leader in the fight for equality for people with disabilities.” Republican senators blocked the international treaty last year.

DisabilityScoop reports: Unemployment among Americans with disabilities is on the rise, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The jobless rate for those with disabilities hit 14.2 percent in June. That’s up from 13.6 percent the month prior. The Labor Department began tracking employment among people with disabilities in October 2008. Data on people with disabilities covers those over the age of 16 who do not live in institutions.

Photo: Residents of Maryland participate, July 26, 2012, in the annual celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Jay Baker/Maryland GovPics).




Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.