Litigation/Administrative Law Articles
Javits-Wagner-O’Day (“JWOD”) Act, 46 U.S.C. §§ 46-48c
a/k/a the “NIB/NISH” Program
This year hundreds of millions of dollars worth of federal contracts will most likely vanish forever from public bid, assigned on a monopoly basis to the so-called “NIB/NISH” or “JWOD” program. Barring extraordinary circumstances, those items will never again be available for public bid, and next year even more follow.
The beneficiaries of the program are two brokerages called National Industries for the Blind (“NIB”) and NISH (f/k/a “National Industries for the Severely Handicapped”) (the “Central Nonprofit Agencies” or “CNAs”). The CNAs allocate the contracts among so-called “workshops” for the blind or severely disabled in exchange for a 4% on all future sales. Qualified workshops range from small, local hospitals to huge, $100 Million enterprises.
This state of affairs exists by virtue of the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (“JWOD”) Act, 41 U.S.C. §§ 46-48c, a federal statute enacted in 1938 and never substantively amended with the exception of a 1971 expansion that added the “severely disabled” category. The core of the JWOD Act is the premise that items will be set aside and supplied on a monopoly basis at a “fair market price” set by an independent federal agency called the Committee For Purchase From People Who Are Blind Or Severely Disabled (the “Committee”).
This office has represented and counseled innumerable people through the intricacies of the JWOD program, including contractors about to lose business, contractors interested in regaining business they’ve already lost, other law firms, labor unions, trade associations, etc. The articles that follow discuss various aspects of that experience.