[nfbwatlk] Sample Letter Opposing Section 511 in WIA Reauthorization

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Sun Jul 17 16:06:03 UTC 2011

Below find a sample letter opposing inclusion of Section 511 (the
minimum-wage for blind/disabled persons exception) . Of course, one should
make the appropriate substitutions to personalize the letters to one's own
situation. Obviously, the letter should be addressed to Senator Patty
Murray, a member of the Senate Help, education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)
Committee, the body before which the WIA reauthorization mark-up will take

We're between a rock and a hard-place; e-petitions aren't always trusted and
snailmail takes a while as it must go thru anthrax screening. We'll no more
about our strategy this evening.

In any event, Senator Murray's snailmail address is:

Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

Mike Freeman, President
NFB of Washington

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbaffiliatepresidents-bounces at nfbnet.org
[mailto:nfbaffiliatepresidents-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Gary Wunder
Sent: Saturday, July 16, 2011 1:00 AM
To: 'NFB Affiliate Presidents List'
Subject: Re: [NFBAffiliatePresidents] Subminimum Wage Strategy Call

Here is a sample letter for whatever it is worth. I find our people are
sometimes more willing to write if they have an example.


3910 Tropical Lane
Columbia, MO 65202-6205 

July 14, 2011 

Dear Senator McCaskill:

Currently there is a bill working its way through the United States Senate
to reauthorize the rehabilitation act as amended.  I am a beneficiary of
this contract America has made with her blind citizens.  You and other
Americans taught me the special skills necessary to function as a person who
is blind.  You then bought me special equipment and provided me a college
education.  I have been working ever since to fulfill my part of the
contract, having worked for 31 years as a computer programmer and project
manager for the University of Missouri Hospitals and Clinics, and now
serving as the editor of the Braille Monitor magazine, a magazine which
leads all others in the field of blindness in circulation and readership.

Currently the proposed reauthorization contains Section 511 which would
sanction the payment of sub-minimum wages to people who are blind or
otherwise disabled.  There is no place in the rehabilitation act for this
kind of provision.  The emphasis in the rehabilitation act is to train
people for competitive employment, to forbid discrimination against
qualified applicants, and to commit the federal government to buying
technology which has nonvisual access built into it.  This latter provision
has served to provide a powerful incentive for companies to make their
products accessible nonvisually. Everything about the rehabilitation act is
progressive.  Sanctioning the sub minimum wage in this act is completely out
of character with the reason for its creation.  There is already language in
the Fair Labor Standards Act which allows the payment of sub minimum wage.
It was passed in 1938 and should be repealed, but the statement the sub
minimum wage makes about blind and otherwise disabled people is completely
incompatible with the thrust of the rehabilitation act and I urge that
section 511 of the Workforce Investment Act be removed.

Please feel free to write or call me if I can answer questions you have
about this legislation.  My telephone number is 573-874-1774, and you may
use the e-mail address which appears above.

Gary Wunder, president
National Federation Of The Blind of Missouri 

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