Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blind Americans to Protest Subminimum Wages


Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Blind Americans to Protest Subminimum Wages

Members of National Federation of the Blind Plan
Informational Pickets Across United States

Baltimore, Maryland (July 20, 2011): The National
Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest
nationwide organization of blind people,
announced today that its members will conduct
informational protests across the United States
to raise awareness about the practice of paying
wages below the federal minimum wage to Americans
with disabilities. The protests will take place
at the primary district office locations of
United States Senators serving on the Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions (the HELP Committee). The HELP
Committee is currently considering
legislation­the Workforce Investment Act­which
would reauthorize the payment of subminimum wages to disabled workers.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National
Federation of the Blind, said: "Unequal pay for
equal work on the basis of disability is unfair,
discriminatory, and immoral. The senators who
serve on the HELP Committee must decide whether
they stand for the outrageous exploitation of
disabled workers, or for true equality for Americans with disabilities."

On Wednesday, August 3, the HELP Committee is
scheduled to vote on the Workforce Investment Act
(WIA), which contains language reauthorizing the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The
Rehabilitation Act is supposed to provide
services to disabled Americans so that they can
obtain competitive employment, but Title V,
Section 511 of the proposed Rehabilitation Act
language references Section 14(c) of the 1938
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which allows
certain entities holding special wage
certificates to pay workers with disabilities
less than the federal minimum wage.

For more information on the National Federation
of the Blind and fair wages for workers with
disabilities, please visit

About the National Federation of the Blind
With more than 50,000 members, the National
Federation of the Blind is the largest and most
influential membership organization of blind
people in the United States. The NFB improves
blind people's lives through advocacy, education,
research, technology, and programs encouraging
independence and self-confidence. It is the
leading force in the blindness field today and
the voice of the nation's blind. In January 2004
the NFB opened the National Federation of the
Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and
training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.

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