[Nfbmo] FW: Affiliate Demonstration Against Section 511, Title V of the Workforce Investment Act July 26 In Des Moines

Gary Wunder GWunder at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 19 17:52:54 UTC 2011

Hello folks.  As you probably know, there is an attempt to introduce into
the rehabilitation act a section that would sanction the payment of sub
minimum wages to blind people.  We oppose this, and accordingly we
unanimously adopted a resolution at our 2011 National Convention vowing to
do what we can to defeat this proposal.

Missouri has no member on the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee,
but our bordering states of Kansas and Iowa do, and they are asking for our
help.  Assuming we can generate some affiliate support, are any of you
interested in going either to Wichita Kansas or Des Moines Iowa next
Tuesday?  I am sending along the request that was sent from Iowa, but I hope
we can help both states.



From: Michael D. Barber [mailto:michael.nfbi at gmail.com] 
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2011 9:41 PM
To: gwunder at earthlink.net
Subject: FW: Affiliate Demonstration Against Section 511, Title V of the
Workforce Investment Act July 26 In Des Moines

Gary:  Please feel free to forward this to your affiliate should anyone
decide to come join our demonstration in Iowa.  Harkin is the chair of the
HELP Committee so we want as large a demonstration as possible.
Michael Barber


From: Michael D. Barber [mailto:nfbiowa at qwestoffice.net] 
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2011 9:32 PM
To: Michael D. Barber
Subject: Affiliate Demonstration Against Section 511, Title V of the
Workforce Investment Act July 26 In Des Moines

Good evening fellow Federationists:
As you are no doubt aware by now, the members of the National Federation of
the Blind are actively opposing the proposed reauthorization of the
Workforce Investment Act, and specifically Title V, Section 511.  This
section contains language which links the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, an
act which supports competitive employment of blind people, with Section 14C
of the Fair Labor Standards Act, adopted in 1938, which on one hand
guarantees the minimum wage for Americans, but on the other hand allows for
people with disabilities to be paid sub-minimum wages by those employers who
obtain special certificates.  Such a link has never before existed between
the Rehab Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Committee (HELP)  is supporting this degrading, backward looking piece of
legislation, along with the members of the HELP Committee.  At its recent
convention, the National Federation of the Blind unanimously adopted
Resolution 2011-17 which opposes this legislation.  This petition has been
sent to the members of the HELP Committee along with an advertisement paid
for by the the NFB which appeared in the Washington Post today opposing this
legislation.  The advertisement was also given to each HELP Committee
Before the convention, 70 letters, along with several phone calls, were
written and made to Senator Harkin's office from our affiliate.  To a
person, each letter and phone call expressed deep opposition to this section
of Title V and asked that it be removed, along with any reference to Section
14C of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Dr. Maurer, John Pare, and Anil Lewis
have tried and tried to convince Senator Harkin to reverse his position, but
he has not done so at this time.  What has happened is that the proposed
markup of the bill has been delayed at least 2 or 3 times and is now
scheduled for August 3.
My reason for writing is to let you know that there will be a demonstration
against this legislation on Tuesday, July 26 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at
the Federal Building in downtown Des Moines at 210 Walnut Street.    It is
no coincidence that this day also marks the anniversary of the signing of
the Americans With Disabilities Act.  It is now time to put feet to our
words and actions.
A small group of us met  with Jules Reynolds and another staff member this
morning and I expressed to Jules once again our frustration and anger that
Senator Harkin, widely touted as the father of the ADA and a champion of
those with disabilities would now turn his back on us and support
legislation which threatens to rob the dignity of those who are blind,
allowing them to be paid sub-minimum wages by those who seek to profit from
our brothers and sisters while they work for a mere pittance in these
I am hopeful that as many of you who can will join us here in Des Moines
next Tuesday morning for this demonstration.  We will have press coverage,
both TV, Radio and newspaper.  We want a huge turn-out!  We will gather at
9:45 AM sharp on the southeast corner of 3rd and Walnut and make our way
across the street to the public sidewalk in front of the Federal Building.
For those who can make it, we are having a meeting at my home this Sunday
afternoon at 1:30 PM to talk about the demonstration.  We would very much
appreciate it if you would RSVP if you are coming so we know how many to
expect.  Additionally, if you can come to Des Moines, please let me know
either by responding to this e-mail or by calling me at (515) 771-8348,
which is my cell phone.  You may also text me if you like.
I told them today that our voice is loud and will get louder!  Let's all
gather and let Senator Harkin know we will not hold still for such
despicable treatment!!!  Let's show him the power of the National Federation
of the Blind!
Chapter presidents, I urge you to get your calling committees busy and
contact all your members about this.
Michael D. Barber, President
National Federation of the Blind of Iowa

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