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Program 13: No Worker Exploitation! 'The Sea Is My Brother' and 'Bottom Dollars'

  • Cinema Village 22 East 12th Street New York, NY, 10003 United States (map)

The Sea Is My Brother - The story of the decades-long quest of World War II's forgotten heroes, the Merchant Marines who took more casualties than any other branch, but who did not receive the GI Bill benefits promised them by Pres. Roosevelt.  Seventy years later, the American Merchant Marine Veterans Association gathered a team of 80- and 90-year-old AMMV members from around the country to "Storm the Hill" and petition Congress for some belated recognition and payment.  It included Gabriel Frank, a colorful, energetic-if-walker-bound Manhattanite who's "been everywhere" and is a passionate advocate for his brother Mariners. (2018, 30 min)

Bottom Dollars - 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. 78 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. (2016, 55 min)

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