Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Good Morning Gang,

WE NEED YOUR HELP! I am quite sure that most of you know we are in a battle
with Congress regarding Section 511 of the Health, Education, Labor and
Pension, Workforce Investment Act which authorizes payment of wages below
the federal minimum wage to persons with disabilities. We cannot allow the
hands of time to be turned back. We want equal pay for equal work. So, on
Tuesday, July 26th between 10:00 AM and Noon we are going to protest in
front of the Mazoli building at 6th and Chestnut. Rand Paul, who sits on
this committee has an office here. I will be releasing more details as they
become available from our National Office, but for now I want you to make
plans to be with us. The correct address for the Senator is 600 Martin
Luther King Dr. However, if you are making a TARC 3 ride this address might
not work. Tell the reservation-taker that you want to be dropped-off and
picked-up on the Chestnut street side. We will carry signs and have
literature to distribute to the public. Keep in mind that this is an orderly
protest. I have attached the resolution passed at this year's convention for
your review. The press release will be sent out today to the media across
the country informing them of our intentions. ALL FEET ON THE STREET!

Cathy Jackson, President
NFB of Kentucky

Regarding the Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization

WHEREAS, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and
Pensions has distributed language for the reauthorization of the
Workforce Investment Act including a proposed Section 511 of Title V
(the Rehabilitation Act), which would provide for employment of
people with significant disabilities at wages below the federally
mandated minimum wage; and

WHEREAS, the proposed language of Section 511 would be a tacit
endorsement of the subminimum wage provision found in Section 14(c)
of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its antiquated contention
that people with disabilities cannot be competitively employed; and

WHEREAS, this language links the Rehabilitation Act, which was
established to assist people with disabilities in obtaining
competitive integrated employment, with Section 14(c) of the FLSA,
which is based on the false premise that people with disabilities can
not be competitively employed and therefore can be paid subminimum wages;

WHEREAS, the language in Section 511 that defines what steps a
vocational rehabilitation counselor must take before steering a
client into subminimum-wage employment is intended to prevent youth
with disabilities from being tracked into subminimum-wage jobs, but
is likely instead to track clients into subminimum-wage employment; and

WHEREAS, language in Section 511 asserts that employers holding a
certificate that allows them to pay subminimum wages can also serve
as training facilities for people with disabilities, a claim that
ignores the fact that job training services provided by an employer
holding a special wage certificate are likely to reinforce the low
expectation that workers with disabilities cannot be competitively
employed, since the incentive is for the employer to continue
exploiting their labor rather than prepare workers for other employment; and

WHEREAS, the Section 511 documentation and review process, which is
meant to provide safeguards against inappropriate use of
subminimum-wage employment, does not take into consideration the fact
that state Vocational Rehabilitation programs do not have the
resources to ensure effective compliance with the various
documentation and review requirements, including the six-month review
period in the proposed language, creating an opportunity to expand
the exploitation caused by Section 14(c) of the FLSA; and

WHEREAS, the good intentions motivating the development of Section
511 are likely to result in enormous negative consequences,
especially the validation of subminimum-wage employment as a viable
outcome for people with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the language does not provide an effective procedure for
workers to challenge improper placement in such employment: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention
assembled this seventh day of July, 2011, in the city of Orlando,
Florida, that this organization call on members of the Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to remove Section
511 of the proposed Rehabilitation Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon all members of Congress,
not to address the unjust law of Section 14(c) with ineffective
measures, but to take direct action to abolish the reprehensible
practice of subminimum-wage employment forever.


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