Impact of Government Shutdown
The latest Government Shutdown lasted 35 days and was recorded as the longest partial Federal Government shutdown in U.S. history. The shutdown created a sense of uncertainty and unpredictability for many workers. More than 90 ServiceSource employees—77% of whom have disabilities–were impacted by the shutdown at 11 contract sites. Throughout the shutdown, ServiceSource rallied to advocate for our employees to return to work, provided opportunities for those affected to share their stories in the media, and connected individuals to needed resources and supports.
While the shutdown was well-documented, few media outlets addressed its impact on those working on federal contracts, including individuals employed through the AbilityOne Program. The AbilityOne Program is the largest source of employment for individuals with disabilities in the United States and facilitates employment for approximately 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities. These workers serve the Federal Government in mailroom, logistical, administrative, operations and other supports at several Government agencies.
The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than twice that of those with no disability, a figure which does not include individuals who have ceased actively looking for employment. The AbilityOne Program offers people with disabilities hope and pathways towards fulfilling careers that enhance their independence and self-sufficiency.
Cans for Contractors Campaign
In response to the emergency need for food and other immediate necessities among our employees, ServiceSource launched the Cans for Contractors campaign. Our goal was to collect and distribute non-perishable food and personal items to AbilityOne employees impacted by the shutdown. Many of these contractors were struggling to make ends meet and did not have the financial and family resources to maintain food security. Thanks to the support of our donors, we collected more than 250 items and distributed the products to nine individuals and families in need.
As part of this campaign, the ServiceSource Foundation collected donations to help individuals in need meet their basic needs, including rent. Our goal of $10,000 was surpassed due to the generosity of our donors. In total, $13,135 was raised from 21 donors. The ServiceSource Foundation provided a $1 for $1 match and additional support from ServiceSource helped us cover the gap and reimburse lost wages or restore PTO used for all employees impacted by the shutdown across all regions.
We are pleased that our employees have been able to return to work and we will continue to support them with any needs that may arise in the future. ServiceSource will also continue to monitor HR 678 and S. 162 which are both bills to help provide back pay to contractor employees. Click the Action Alert links below, provided by SourceAmerica to directly support legislation for both bills.
Janet Samuelson, ServiceSource President and CEO composed an Op-Ed highlighting a couple stories of workers affected by the shutdown. Click here to read the Op-Ed.
Click on the video below to see Cans for Contractors on NBC News.