[Ohio-talk] Follow-Up To My Email About Red Roof Accessibility Issues From Last November; All Input Welcome

Wes Derby ufofanatic at gmail.com
Tue Apr 3 19:31:22 UTC 2018

Hello, Fellow Federationists. This may be mainly for President Payne,
but I'm interested in any thoughts from the rest of the organization.

A quick update on the Red Roof Inn Human Resources system I emailed
about in late November.

First, President Payne...I apologize for not getting with you. After I
sent that, we had sort of a whirlwind of activity in my home. I was
hospitalized for seizures, my daughter came for her first visit, I got
married, and...All that fun stuff. Let me know if we should still hook
up by phone or private email on the original issue. The best ways to
reach me are this email, or by text/iMessage/call at 614-828-7602.

A quick recap: We have a time-off/scheduling system known as WFO or
WFM, depending on which department you're in. Our previous system,
EmPower, worked pretty well with JAWS. This system was put in place in
mid-May of 2016, shortly after I started with the company. When an
employee wants to use PTO, or request VTO, or schedule trades, or
anything like that, they log in, fill out the form, and get it
submitted. If a JAWS-using employee wants to do any of this, we have
to email staffing and/or our escalation teams and hope someone enters
the request. It puts blind employees at a disadvantage especially
since most things are first come/first serve when it comes to time off
or other requests. So, if you submit your request, but the supervisor
or staffing department doesn't get to it for a few hours, and a
sighted person submits his/her request online themselves, you're
likely to NOT get yours approved, though you may have sent your email
before the sighted person logged in and independently submitted
his/her request.

The company is aware of the inaccessibility, but can't/won't do
anything to fix it. Our Good Will/Easter Seals job coach claims
there's a WAY JAWS users can do it, but thought it would be too
complicated, so has never given us the instructions for doing so.
When I originally posted this, a couple people suggested NVDA.
However, the system is on a tight enough lockdown that installing NVDA
isn't possible without admin rights. In addition, since you have to be
logged into the company VPN to use the system, it can't be
independently tested from an outside computer running newer browsers
and newer versions of JAWS.

To me, it's an accessibility barrier. Many of my fellow JAWS users,
and one past employee who used JAWS, feel the same way I do. Some are
content with the status quo, but most of us are not. The main problem
is, most are afraid to speak up. I'm not afraid, only because between
my wife's income, starting my own business, and what I get on SSDI, if
they want to use me as an example, I can afford the risk...Most of the
others can't. So, I'm sort of the lone wolf sccreaming out for changes
to be made. LOL

Now, in addition to the WFO issues, many of us JAWS users are
experiencing extreme slowness with the various applications we use in
our departments. The JAWS users are the only ones still using IE9.
They've tried updating us, but then, the scripts written for us fail
to function, so we're stuck until the company decides to go to JAWS
2018 and update our systems. Our concern is that perhaps many of the
web-based applications we use are phasing out support for Internet
Explorer 9, which is understandable since it's ancient.

I learned yesterday that our JAWS sccripter, Mark Tudela, is
supposedly coming in soon to do some scripting work. My supervisor is
hopeful that he will be scripting JAWS 2018 so we can move up, but he
isn't sure. His hope is to get all the blind employees onto the same
operating system everyone else is on, and using Chrome instead of IE,
which is possible in newer versions of JAWS. The company will
supposedly be looking into paying for the upgrades, though still
having us use our personal licenses. Of course, I already paid for my
own upgrade, but that's probably not relevant.

I'm glad to see they're getting Mark in there as the last I'd heard
from one of the corporate IT guys, the reason JAWS users weren't being
upgraded is because the company was supposedly trying to find someone
less expensive to do the scripting, but having no luck. Glad they
apparently came to their senses on that score.

I just wanted to update everyone on the situation. Not sure if the
upgrades, when and if they come, will help us with WFO, but, here's

What further advocacy steps should myself, or others who aren't afraid
to speak up, take? How, if at all, can we get the Federation involved
in this as Red Roof does employ quite a few blind people in our state?

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