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Letter to the editor: Workshops serve needed purpose
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From Ulonda Signer Dietmeier


To the editor:

Not every infant matures and achieves their parents' ideal, be it honor grades, members of the team, or highly productive, self-sufficient adult. There are disabilities, terms we tend to scan past when reading the news, such as autism, or birth defects or retardation. But caring family, modern medicine and surgery, mechanical and electronic aids, understanding friends and special education classes can contribute to meeting the individual needs of those with disabilities.

What happened when they are 21, an adult, but unable to function in that grown-up self-sufficient world? Will anyone hire them? Do they sit home and watch TV? Are they on the street getting into trouble?

This is why we need Greenco Industries. The daily production rate of each employee is recorded. Then it is compared to the product rate of a Greenco supervisor. If the Greenco worker rate is 7 percent or 77 percent of the supervisor's, that is the percent of the full amount which the Greenco worker receives. There is no way that a business can pay a full wage rate to low production workers and stay in business. It doesn't matter if they are harvesting vegetables or counting nuts and bolts into a plastic bag. Workshops must be able to maintain this ability to pay below the hourly minimum wage.

This is why workshops such as Greenco are vital. Those with disabilities can have the self-esteem of going to work, producing a needed product and receiving a paycheck the same as you and I. They can socialize with friends at noon and on the ride to and from work. I know that our son Clair certainly received much satisfaction from his years of employment at Greenco after we retired to Monroe.

Parents, caregivers and friends, please share your story with your representative in Madison if you, too, believe that we need to maintain our workshops with special pay rates, such as Greenco's, now more than ever when so much production is by rapid, computerized mechanics. Our lobbying is the reason that Wisconsin is one of the few remaining states with workshops.