[Ct-nfb] Legislative Alert from National Convention

smt stephenthal at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jul 7 12:26:15 UTC 2011


While this helps, is it not more effective coming from comments of persons
impacted by this?



From: ct-nfb-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:ct-nfb-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Sigman, Brian
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 8:16 AM
To: 'NFB of Connecticut Mailing List'
Subject: Re: [Ct-nfb] Legislative Alert from National Convention


Hi Lucia- I wanted to be sure you were also aware that the National Council
of State Agencies for the Blind (representing all public VR programs for
people who are blind) has also taken a stance in opposition of the
sub-minimum wage language.



From: ct-nfb-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:ct-nfb-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of llee at nfbct.org
Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2011 2:52 PM
To: NFB of CT list serve
Subject: [Ct-nfb] Legislative Alert from National Convention


Hi all,


Beth Rival called today from the national convention. She asked that I
re-send this legislative alert. We have received word that the Health,
Education, Labor & Pension (HELP) Committee will be voting on the Workforce
Investment Act next week. The HELP Committee plans to vote to continue the
practice of paying disabled people a subminimum wage as stated in Section
511 of the Act. This Act does affect people all over the country, here in CT
also. There are disabled people in CT who work for subminimum wages.Please
read the following email from Anil Lewis and call Senator Richard
Blumenthal, who is on the committee,  to ask him to have Section 511
removed. His contact number is on the list following the email.





-----Original Message-----
From: nfbnet-master-list-bounces at nfbnet.org
[mailto:nfbnet-master-list-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of David Andrews
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2011 12:47 PM
To: nfbnet-master-list at nfbnet.org
Subject: [Nfbnet-master-list] Follow Up on Subminimum Wage Legislative Alert

from Anil Lewis (
alewis at nfb.org)?

Dear Fellow Federationists,

Michael Barber reports that the NFB of Iowa has sent over seventy 
letters to Senator Harkin, urging him to remove Section 511 from Title V 
of the Workforce
Investment Act (WIA). This bill will be marked up and voted on 
Wednesday, June 29, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time. If your senator is on the 
Senate Committee
on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP committee), please 
continue to write and call regarding this issue.

Section 511 reauthorizes payment of subminimum wages to people with 
disabilities. It is completely contrary to the purpose of the 
Rehabilitation Act, which is intended to promote competitive, integrated 

The following list contains the names of members of the HELP committee. 
If your senator is a member of the committee, please call his/her office 
to respectfully
express your adamant objection to linking subminimum wage to the 
Rehabilitation Act, and to insist that Section 511 of the Rehabilitation 
Act be removed
from the bill. If your senator is not a member of the HELP committee, 
call the committee chair (Senator Tom Harkin) and the ranking member 
(Senator Michael
Enzi) to register your objection. Additional background information on 
Section 511 follows after the HELP committee list.


Anil Lewis
Director of Strategic Communications
Telephone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2374
alewis at nfb.org

table with 3 columns and 23 rows



Senator Lamar Alexander


(202) 224-4944

Senator Michael F. Bennet


(202) 224-5852

Senator Jeff Bingaman

New Mexico

(202) 224-5521

Senator Richard Blumenthal


(202) 224-2823

Senator Richard Burr

North Carolina

(202) 224-3154

Senator Robert Casey, Jr.


(202) 224-6324

Senator Mike Enzi


(202) 224-3424

Senator Al Franken


(202) 224-5641

Senator Kay R. Hagan

North Carolina

(202) 224-6342

Senator Tom Harkin


(202) 224-3254

Senator Orrin G. Hatch


(202) 224-5251

Senator Johnny Isakson


(202) 224-3643

Senator Mark Steven Kirk


(202) 224-2854

Senator John McCain


(202) 224-2235

Senator Jeff Merkley


(202) 224-3753

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski


(202) 224-4654

Senator Lisa Murkowski


(202) 224-6665

Senator Patty Murray


(202) 224-2621

Senator Rand Paul


(202) 224-4343

Senator Pat Roberts


(202) 224-4774

Senator Bernard Sanders


(202) 224-5141

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Rhode Island

(202) 224-2921
table end


The key legislation around the recent Subminimum Wage legislative alert 
is the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), specifically Title V, the 
Act, which is one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting 
the lives of people with disabilities. There is no bill number assigned 
at this
time, but we have been provided the proposed draft language. On 
Wednesday, June 29, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, 
and Pensions (HELP
committee) will be marking up the WIA reauthorization. So far, we have 
been unsuccessful in our efforts to have Section 511 removed from the 

As the Senate works to reauthorize the Rehabilitation Act, a new section 
has been added, Section 511, which links Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor 
Act (FSLA) to the Rehabilitation Act. Section 14(c) of the FLSA is the 
law that allows employers to pay subminimum wages to their workers with 
There are more than 5,000 entities that hold special wage certificates 
allowing them to pay subminimum wages to more than 400,000 workers with 
Section 14(c) is flawed in its implementation, and it has been plagued 
with abuse of employers paying workers with disabilities even less than 
the subminimum
wage they are entitled to receive as a result of this law. The Wage and 
Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor is charged with the 
of oversight, but they are only able to investigate 2 percent of the 
facilities a year. Many workers with disabilities have not been able to 
collect millions
of dollars of back wages because the statute of limitations has passed 
before WHD can identify the violation.

Section 14(c) is simply unenforceable. We have fought against this 
provision since the founding of our organization, and we have made 
significant progress.
Section 511 threatens that progress.

The language found in Section 511 is a restatement of Section 14(c) of 
the FLSA, linking legislation that is supposed to provide the training 
and support
for people with disabilities to obtain competitive employment to 
legislation that asserts that people with disabilities cannot be 
competitively employed.
The philosophies are in direct conflict, and Section 511 sends a mixed 
message about the purpose of vocational rehabilitation (VR).

Section 511 explains the process a counselor would have to go through 
before referring a client to a subminimum wage work environment. The 
intent is to
make it more difficult for clients to be steered toward subminimum wage 
employment. Unfortunately, the language opens a door to subminimum wage 
that did not previously exist. As a result of Section 511, if VR fails 
to provide a client with the proper training and support to become 
employed, they will be encouraged to make a referral to a subminimum 
wage employer.

The language states that, once placed in a subminimum wage work 
environment, the client should receive a review every six months. 
However, similar to WHD's
inability to enforce Section 14(c) of the FLSA, it will not be possible 
for VR to properly enforce this law, leaving even more individuals stuck 
in subminimum
wage jobs. A better use of the inadequate funding potentially slated for 
enforcement of Section 511, and the insufficient funding for WHD to 
enforce Section
14(c) would be to develop creative rehabilitation strategies to 
competitively employ all people with disabilities.

Many people have come to believe that subminimum wage employment is an 
opportunity for people with disabilities to experience the tangible and 
benefits of work. We maintain that there is no benefit, tangible or 
intangible, to working in an environment that asserts that you are not 
as good as
everyone else. Industries have been built on this false perception, 
allowing people, who otherwise would be able to obtain competitive 
employment, to
be exploited at subminimum wages to bolster an employer's profitability. 
The job market has changed drastically since the initial passage of this 
legislation. With the proper training and support, people with even the 
most significant disabilities are able to be competitively employed.

We need to let members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, 
Labor, and Pension know that Section 511 of the Rehabilitation Act 
should be removed
from the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act.


David Andrews and long white cane Harry.
david.andrews at nfbnet.org
Follow me on Twitter @dandrews920

Nfbnet-master-list mailing list
Nfbnet-master-list at nfbnet.org

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