John Cronin and his partner and father, Mark X. Cronin, traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with Congressional leaders on the rights of people with differing abilities. Advocacy is part of the mission at John’s Crazy Socks. The two spoke about the need to eliminate the sub-minimum wage, which allows employers to pay people with a disability less then minimum wage, and other legislative proposals that would protect the earnings of people with differing abilities.
“I have Down syndrome,” says John Cronin, “but Down syndrome never holds me back. Law syndrome does hold me back. We have to eliminate antiquated laws that prevent people with a disability from receiving fair pay and then make it hard to hold onto that pay.”
Working with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), John and Mark met with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the minority leader in the Senate, and Kevin McCarthy (R-Ill), the minority leader in the House of Representatives. Mark said, “These are issues of human rights that transcend Democratic or Republican politics. John has a way of bringing people together from across the political spectrum.”
The two also met with Long Island Congressmen Peter King (R-NY) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY). After two years of operations, John’s Crazy Socks now employs 39 people, 23 of whom have a differing ability. “Every day, we show what is possible. We are glad to have the support of both Congressmen King and Suozzi,” said John.
The pair focused on repealing section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which allows employers to pay as little as five cents an hour to people with a disability. Mark said, “That may have been fair in 1938, but the world has changed. People like John were institutionalized then. Now, people with differing abilities are ready, ready and able to work. We see that in our colleagues every day and John demonstrates that in the way he helps lead his business.”
The minimum wage on Long Island is $12 per hour and the starting wage at John’s Crazy Socks is $13 per hour. “Our colleagues do not do minimum work, so we do not pay a minimum wage. We expect to increase that starting salary to $15 per hour.”
John and Mark travel to Capitol Hill at least twice a year to speak on these issues and they have testified twice before Congress on the rights of people with different abilities.
About John’s Crazy Socks
John’s Crazy Socks is a father-son venture inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks, or what he calls his “crazy socks.” We're on a mission to spread happiness.
John’s Crazy Socks is a social enterprise with both a social mission and a business mission. The company is built on four pillars:
- Inspiration and Hope: Showing what is possible when you give a person a chance. We hire people with differing abilities, share videos to show what people can do, host school tours and school groups that come for work experience. We want the world to see what people with differing abilities can do. John’s Crazy Socks currently has 39 employees, 23 of whom have a differing ability.
- Giving Back: We donate 5 percent of our earnings to the Special Olympics and raise money through our Sock of the Month Club and charity and awareness socks for our charity partners like Autism Speaks, the Autism Society of America, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Williams Syndrome Association. We have raised over $250,000 for our charity partners and publish a monthly Giving Back Report.
- Socks You Can Love: We have over 2,300 different socks plus a Sock of the Month Club, gift boxes and gift bags. And we match the great socks with great service: we do same day shipping so most of our customers receive their socks within two days of ordering.
- Making It Personal: Every package gets a thank you note from John and some candy.
Please see our website for more information about our openings. For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, please visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.