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construction workers with congenital back anomalies lit within that

definition, even though they risk injury tron routine lilting, and

other physical work required on construction jobsites. W. Black.

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construction Industry simply cannot afford to employ a helper for

everyone susceptible to physical injury from lifting or other work required on construction Jobsites.

Most employers have at least the opportunity to amortize the cost of accommodating a disabled individual over a long period of tine,

to build the cost into their price structure.


Construction employers, however, have neither of these advantages. Construction employers have to amortize the cost of making an

accommodation over



time available to


particular project. Construction employers cannot build the cost into their price structure because the cost is not foreseeable at

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"reasonable accommodation" and "undue hardship," are simply too vague to assist construction employers in their efforts to comply

with the law. These terms are subjective, and will tend to waste resources on litigation.

AGC is cognizant of the recent colloquy between Senator Hatch


Senator Harkin


"reasonable accommodation"

and "undue

hardship." On September 7, 1989, during the Senate debate on s. 933, Senator Hatch questioned whether that bill takes "the nature

particular industry into account," and Senator Harkin

responded that "each industry, and indeed each separate business, may be unique in the type of accommodation employers are able to provide without significant difficulty or expense. Senator Harkin later stated that "(cjonstruction is unlike manufacturing, and most other types of

industries, in that employer is usually confronted with monitoring multiple worksites at remote


AGC appreciates this effort to clarify the vague terms in the

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In closing, AGC would like to thank the subconnittee for the

opportunity to express these views.

AGC strongly supports the

cause of the many disabled Americans who simply seek their rightful place in the American workplace. AGC believes that all citizens should be, and are committed to, equal opportunity for all in our society, and in every respect. with that said, AGC urges the subcommittee to exercise the utmost care in the drafting of this legislation to ensure that, unlike recent legislation enacted by Congress, extended debate and corrective legislation does not become necessary later to correct mistakes that maximum care can

now avoid.



We and our colleagues have conducted

study. now 8 years in

running of the concerns of people with physical disabilities.

The study captures disabled citizens' ideas for improving the

communities in which we all live. This research information

provides a perspective of how people with disabilities themselves

see the issues and options that affect their independence.

Accordingly, it may be helpful to your deliberations about the

Americans with Disabilities Act.

Using our Concerns Report Method, we have collected data

from over 17.000 people with physical disabilities in 12 states.

Participants were drawn from entire states, such as Indiana and

Iowa, large urban areas, such as Los Angeles and Orange County,

California, and many small rural communities, Survey participants

included people with all types and severities of impairments.

Their living conditions are consistent with the Harris poll

sample; about two thirds are unemployed and have incones below

poverty guidelines.

Unique surveys were developed by local groups of disabled

citizens. They identified the top problems and strengths in each

community. Consumers discussed the issues in town meetings and

generated their own ideas about what could be done to improve


We have attached, for the record, a copy of the latest

edition of the summary report on this research, a document

entitled Connon Concerns of Disabled Americans: Issues and

Options. We will draw on this report in our testimony.

Imagine: People from places as different as Anaheim, CA; Des

Moines, IA; the Missouri Ozarks, and the Arapaho-Shoshone


reservation in Wyoming saying quite similar things about the

barriers that affect their personal independence. This

representative group of over 17.000 disabled citizens says, with

a united voice, and many times over, that they face limited

opportunities and discrimination in employment, work

disincentives, unwillingness of employers to provide reasonable

accommodation, and lack of access to public transportation,

streets and sidewalks, and commercial and public buildings.

Disabled citizens spoke about public accommodations issues

through specific survey questions and comments at the town

meetings. The data support retaining. and perhaps even expanding.

the scope of coverage as it now reads.

Our concerns data on access to commercial services show an

average rating of 87% on importance (very high), with a

satisfaction rating of only 47%. Issues of public access had a

high importance rating of 81% and a relatively low satisfaction

rating of 482. What if a corporation like McDonald's conducted a

similar survey and found that satisfaction with its fries was

only 48%? We can bet that there would be more than symbolic


What people really seem to care about is access to stores,

local restaurants, public buildings, banks, utility companies,

and service agency offices: those places necessary for the

everyday conduct of all of our lives. Can I get to the grocery

store or discount shopping center? And, if I can get there, can I

set in it and around it?

To restrict the coverage of the bill to motels, hotels,

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places of entertainment, and the oflices of health care providers

leaves out nany of the places necessary for the everyday conduct

of people's lives. Also, since the majority of people with

disabilities are poor, access to fine hotels and restaurants is

something many can only hope to enjoy some day.

It is essential that hotels, motels, and recreational

facilities be accessible on an equal basis, and critical that

access to health care is available to all Americans. But, to

restrict the scope of the ADA to these places ignores the basic

rights and needs of the great majority of disabled Americans,

leaving them socially isolated in their homes, and still darred

from equal participation in society. People are calling for their

rights to access to the everyday places in their own

neighborhoods and towns.

To summarize, we found substantial and widespread

dissatisfaction with an array of access issues by this

representative group of the 36 million disabled Americans. And,

with the imminent passage of the ADA, Congress has demonstrated

its responsiveness.

But, what about implementation? How can this important civil

rights legislation be implemented in places as diverse as

Bismark, North Dakota and Los Angeles? How can it be done in a

way that minimizes litigation by angry consumers and limits

un justified claims of "undue burden" by businesses?

A successful implementation strategy must balance

potentially conflicting interests: the rights to equal access and

opportunity and the responsibility to avoid placing an undue

burden on those public and private entities accountable for

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