While Goodwill has been highly touted over the years for its support and vocational training of disabled persons, the National Federation of the Blind has issued a statement strongly condemning Goodwill’s practice of paying substandard, below minimum wages to persons with disabilities. The following are the remarks issued to the press today:
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), one of the oldest and largest organizations of Americans with disabilities, today called for a boycott of Goodwill Industries International, Inc., the nonprofit manufacturer and retailer, for its payment of subminimum wages to many of its workers with disabilities. Freedom of information requests filed by the NFB confirmed that Goodwill Industries employees have been paid as low as $1.44 an hour. The NFB and over forty-five other organizations support legislation, the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act (H.R. 3086), which would phase out and then repeal the nearly seventy-five-year-old provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that permits special certificate holders to pay subminimum wages to workers with disabilities.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Goodwill Industries is one of the most well-known and lucrative charitable organizations in the United States, yet it chooses to pay its workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage. While this practice is currently legal and many entities engage in it, many other nonprofit organizations have successfully transitioned to paying their employees the minimum wage or higher. That Goodwill Industries exploits many of its workers in this way is ironic, because its president and chief executive officer is blind. Goodwill cannot credibly argue that workers with disabilities are incapable of doing productive work while paying its blind CEO over half a million dollars a year. Goodwill should be ashamed of such blatant hypocrisy. We are calling upon all Americans to refuse to do business with Goodwill Industries, to refuse to make donations to the subminimum-wage exploiter, and to refuse to shop in its retail stores until it exercises true leadership and sound moral judgment by fairly compensating its workers with disabilities.”
For more information on this critically important issue, please visitwww.nfb.org/fairwages.