[Nfbc-info] FYI FW: [Nfbnet-members-list] Blind Workers Being Organized

Michael Hingson info at michaelhingson.com
Tue Jun 25 15:01:10 UTC 2013



From: Nfbnet-members-list [mailto:nfbnet-members-list-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Kevan Worley (by way of David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>)
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2013 06:26 PM
To: nfbnet-members-list at nfbnet.org
Subject: [Nfbnet-members-list] Blind Workers Being Organized


Greetings colleagues,
Dr. Maurer has asked Anil Lewis and me to lead an effort reconstituting the
Blind Industrial Workers of America. As our battle for fair wages continues,
we must reach more blind workers. It is important to harness their
experience and expertise earned in the trenches on the front line for the
common effort. National Industries for the Blind (NIB) makes much of the
fact that they do not pay blind workers less than the minimum wage on
Federal AbilityOne contracts. They often conveniently ignore the
million-dollar contracts they perform for state government and private
industry. Many NIB shops are less than forthcoming about the thousands of
blind men and women who toil day after day, month after month, year after
year in so-called work activity centers. NIB says these "work activity
centers" are not work, but "training and rehabilitation." These work
activity centers fill contract orders for products. They enhance the bottom
line of the NIB agency. We know of Federation members with college degrees
who have attempted to gain advancement to the front office without equal
consideration with their sighted peers. We know of shops in which jokes
about the blind are routine among sighted supervisors on the factory floor.
It is not uncommon for a workshop to provide "rehab training" under a
contract to the state rehabilitation agency. Talk about sitting in the cat
bird seat. They get paid to provide "blindness skills training" which allows
them to channel some workers into a work activity center from which the shop
profits from those same clients doing subminimum wage work on state
contracts. The shop then regularly administers demeaning time tests which
will then allow the shop in the cat bird seat to channel some clients to
positions on the factory floor, which best suits the needs of the sighted
highly-paid custodians. We need a strong union of Federationists with the
courage to confront the unfair, discriminatory and corrupt regimes prevalent
in many shops, whether they are NIB, NISH or any other work environment.
When non-profit or for-profit companies treat blind employees with respect,
dignity and equality of opportunity, they will welcome the creation of the
National Federation of the Blind Industrial Workers of America. When they do
not, the BIWA will be on the front line ready to investigate, publicize and
The Blind Industrial Workers of America has a proud tradition in the history
of the Federation. Please let our colleagues know about our upcoming
information organizational meeting. If you know of members working in JWOD
programs or other direct labor, or members of your affiliate have an
interest in learning about and supporting the effort of the BIWA, please
encourage their attendance at our meeting. It will be on July 4th. We expect
the meeting to take less than 2 hours. We will meet immediately following
the afternoon convention session on Thursday, July 4. We will meet in Salon
6. Please announce on your state listserves, at your convention caucuses and
in your delegation.
The BIWA, a union of Federationists.
.        Building the movement
.        Respect and dignity for all workers
.        Fair wages
.        Better working conditions
.        Equality of opportunity for career advancement
.        21st century training leading to fair pay for real work
.        Blind working men and women have a right to fair treatment just
like everybody else
.        Blind workers speaking for themselves
At your service,
cid:image001.jpg at 01CDBCF2.C07B8380
Kevan Worley
Executive Director
National Association of Blind Merchants
kevanworley at blindmerchants.org 

-------------- next part --------------
An embedded and charset-unspecified text was scrubbed...
Name: ATT00368.txt
URL: <http://nfbnet.org/pipermail/nfbc-info_nfbnet.org/attachments/20130625/1c19bd01/attachment.txt>

More information about the NFBC-Info mailing list