Here’s A Case of the Blind “Not” Leading The Blind…
Goodwill has been paying salaries for employees with disabilities as little as $1.44 per hour. It is legal. Under the “Fair Labor Standards Act,” employers have permission from the U.S.Department of Labor to pay those with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage which is currently $7.25 per hour. Minimum wage was signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt who was the president during “The Great Depression,” to keep America’s workers out of poverty. He believed it would stimulate the economy by increasing purchasing power. The National Federation of The Blind is speaking out against Goodwill’s position to pay sub-minimum wages. Legal yes, but morally inadequate especially since Goodwill, according to this article, pays it’s blind CEO a half million dollars per year.
Goodwill Salaries: Taking Advantage of Disabled Employees
“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,” said Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind.Goodwill’s compensation practices are legal. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers have been able to obtain special permission from the U.S. Department of Labor since the 1930s to pay those with disabilities less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.However, the National Federation of the Blind says the allowance is based on an outdated view of the ability of individuals with disabilities to work and they say that Goodwill should do better.“That Goodwill Industries exploits many of its workers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,” Maurer said.The National Federation of the Blind and dozens of other disability advocacy groups support legislation introduced in Congress last year that would end subminimum wage altogether. However, no further action has been taken on the bill.For their part, Goodwill representatives said in a statement that 64 of their 165 local affiliates pay employees with significant disabilities below minimum wage but such workers receive an average of $7.47 per hour. read more
The president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, Jim Gibbons, spent 10 years as CEO at National Industries for the Blind, NIB. People donate clothing furniture and housewares to Goodwill which resells the items. Some of the money goes to training the underprivileged to work in areas such as computers,financial careers and healthcare. Goodwill also has a NYC upscale boutique. It also sells items online. I believe that people with disabilities are capable of doing constructive work and should be valued and paid like everyone else.
According to Raisetheminimumwage.org, “The value of the minimum wage has fallen sharply over the past forty years.”"In 1968 the Federal Minimum Wage was $1.60 per hour which translates to approximately $10.27 in 2011 dollars.” When checking with “The Bureau of Labor Statistics,” that calculates to $10.57 in 2012. The Bureau has a great calculator. I somehow feel that the gap is more than the calculator shows.
If a person with disabilities were to take the $1.44 cents that he or she earned as a result of working for one hour and go to a grocery store to purchase a package of toilet paper, he or she would not have enough money. The person would have just enough money however, to purchase one roll..but how would they pay to get there and back?
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