[Nfbnet-members-list] Response to Focus Group Request from NIB for NFB Convention

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Sat Jun 21 20:14:10 UTC 2014

Subject: Response to Focus Group Request from NIB for NFB Convention

Dear Federation Leaders:

Yesterday, an announcement was circulated to NFB lists from Tiffany 
Jolliff, research coordinator at National Industries for the Blind 
(NIB). This announcement notes that "NIB is focused on its mission to 
create and sustain employment opportunities for people who are blind 
or visually impaired," and that the researcher is "interested in 
conducting focus groups with people between the ages of 45 and 64 who 
are blind" at our national convention. It is important to note that 
the circulation of this request for participation in our convention 
is not an endorsement of this activity.

Federation leaders should remember that NIB still allows their 
associated agencies to pay subminimum wages to their blind 
employees.  This is in direct conflict with the policy set by our 
convention that calls for the elimination of 14(c) of the Fair Labor 
Standards Act. The Federation has declined recent offers from NIB to 
be a sponsor of the national convention and we have said that we will 
not reconsider any offers of sponsorship until NIB changes its own 
policy on 14 (c).

Our advocacy efforts to improve the wages being paid to those 
employed under NIB contracts has resulted in significant improvement 
for most, but not all.  We have no interest in doing anything to 
"create and sustain opportunities" that advance subminimum wage 
employment. To that end, I encourage all Federationists to keep this 
in mind when considering the message that has unfortunately 
circulated throughout our listservs.


Mark A. Riccobono, M.S.ed

Executive Director, Jernigan Institute

National Federation of the Blind

200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place

Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Phone: (410) 659-9314 ext. 2357

Fax: (410) 659-5129

Email: <mailto:mriccobono at nfb.org>mriccobono at nfb.org

Twitter: @Riccobono and @NFB_Voice

Web: <http://www.nfb.org/>www.nfb.org

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the 
characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise 
the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create 
obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life 
you want; blindness is not what holds you back.


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