[Ohio-talk] FW: Interview subjects for subminimum wages issue

Barbara Pierce bbpierce at pobox.com
Wed Oct 16 12:15:40 UTC 2013

Please read the message below and let me know off list if you would be
interested in speaking on this subject to reporters. I have been asked to
pass along names. You must have worked or be working in a sheltered shop
with stories of low wages or thwarted opportunities to be qualified for this
duty. I am sure Chris needs people who could do this job, but don't
volunteer if you don't have real history.


From: Danielsen, Chris [mailto:CDanielsen at nfb.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:56 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Interview subjects for subminimum wages issue

Dear Fellow Federationists:

As you know, the National Federation of the Blind is engaged in a campaign
to make the public aware of the antiquated practice of paying workers with
disabilities wages that are far below the federal minimum wage, sometimes
wages as low as pennies per hour. This campaign is a critical part of our
effort to abolish this unfair, discriminatory, and immoral practice. We have
generated substantial media coverage of this issue, but more is still
needed. Many local reporters are interested in doing stories on how the
practice affects people in their area. They want and need people to speak to
them, and in some places appear on camera, to tell them about their
experiences. Such presentations can be extremely powerful in humanizing what
is otherwise an abstract issue. Many of you have seen the NBC Rock Center
piece about this issue; think about how much Harold and Sheila Leigland's
personal stories added to that piece. Harold talked about the frustrating
and demeaning time trials he has to endure, and Sheila talked about being
offered a wage that would not even pay for her daily transportation to work.
(If you have not seen the piece, here is a convenient link:
-paid-just-pennies-an-hour-and-its-legal.) Even if a worker has worked for a
sheltered workshop at some point in the past and is no longer working in
such an environment, that story can also be powerful. We need for people to
talk about the negative impact working in a subminimum-wage job had on their
lives; otherwise, we risk reporters locating individuals who portray their
experience positively, as arguably happened here, despite Anil Lewis
balancing the story:

I am writing to ask your help, as an NFB leader and a member of our public
relations team, to identify individuals who are willing to talk about their
experiences being paid subminimum wages. I am happy to talk with any
individual who is interested in being interviewed but has questions or
concerns. Once we have identified potential interviewees in media markets
throughout the United States, we can let investigative reporters in those
markets know that there are individuals who have experienced or who are
experiencing this discrimination firsthand and who are willing to be

Personal stories are the most effective way to communicate issues to the
public, especially in the electronic media. Help us identify individuals who
can tell their personal stories in order to communicate to the public how
devastating subminimum-wage employment can be. 


Christopher S. Danielsen, J.D.
Director of Public Relations


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