[Ct-nfb] Legislative Alert from National Convention
dandrews at visi.com
Thu Jul 7 14:53:21 UTC 2011
It helps to have both! Yes, Congress-persons respond to their
constituents, so personal stories etc., are best, but it becomes
especially strong if both the consumers, and professionals are against it.
At 07:26 AM 7/7/2011, you wrote:
>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
>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.
><mailto:nfbnet-master-list-bounces at nfbnet.org>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: <mailto:nfbnet-master-list at nfbnet.org>nfbnet-master-list at nfbnet.org
>Subject: [Nfbnet-master-list] Follow Up on Subminimum Wage Legislative Alert
>from Anil Lewis (
><mailto:alewis at nfb.org>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
>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
>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
>Enzi) to register your objection. Additional background information on
>Section 511 follows after the HELP committee list.
>Director of Strategic Communications
>NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
>Telephone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2374
><mailto:alewis at nfb.org>alewis at nfb.org
>table with 3 columns and 23 rows
>Senator Lamar Alexander
>Senator Michael F. Bennet
>Senator Jeff Bingaman
>Senator Richard Blumenthal
>Senator Richard Burr
>Senator Robert Casey, Jr.
>Senator Mike Enzi
>Senator Al Franken
>Senator Kay R. Hagan
>Senator Tom Harkin
>Senator Orrin G. Hatch
>Senator Johnny Isakson
>Senator Mark Steven Kirk
>Senator John McCain
>Senator Jeff Merkley
>Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
>Senator Lisa Murkowski
>Senator Patty Murray
>Senator Rand Paul
>Senator Pat Roberts
>Senator Bernard Sanders
>Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
>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
>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
>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
>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
>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
>for people with disabilities to obtain competitive employment to
>legislation that asserts that people with disabilities cannot be
>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
>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
>wage jobs. A better use of the inadequate funding potentially slated for
>enforcement of Section 511, and the insufficient funding for WHD to
>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
>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.
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