Goodwill pays disabled workers pennies an hour
A 75-year-old labor law allows the company to subvert minimum wage. Its chief executive argues that those earning the reduced rate couldn't work otherwise.
In a payroll decision that's ideologically complex at best, Goodwill Industries outlets in Pennsylvania used a 75-year-old labor law loophole to pay disabled employees as little as 22, 38 and 41 cents per hour in 2011.
As NBC News discovered, a 1938 law known as the Special Wage Certificate Program allows charities and companies to get special certificates from the Department of Labor that permits them to pay disabled workers based on their abilities, with no minimum.
At the time, it was a means of encouraging companies to hire workers with disabilities. With Goodwill International paying chief executive Jim Gibbons $729,000 in salary and deferred compensation in 2011, that makes Goodwill's wages for disabled employees seem as cheap as the broken keyboards and old pairs of Velcro sneakers on its stores' racks.
Gibbons doesn't see it that way, however, defending Goodwill's wage program in a Huffington Post column earlier this year and addressing critics on the site again Friday.
"For young people with the most significant disabilities, the Special Minimum Wage Certificate means the difference between reaching their personal employment potential and having no job at all," he wrote.
More than 216,000 workers are eligible to earn less than minimum wage under the current law, though many end up earning the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. While it's true that the employment rate for Americans age 20-24 with disabilities is only 32%, according to the Department of Labor, that doesn't mean Goodwill's disabled employees are particularly happy with their reduced rate.
"If they really do pay the CEO of Goodwill three-quarters of a million dollars, they certainly can pay me more than they're paying," Harold Leigland, who is legally blind and hangs clothes at a Goodwill in Great Falls, Mont., for less than minimum wage, told NBC News.
I saw this happen with non for profit workshops for the mentally disabled for years. Some clients/workers would have to buy their lunches and have the cost deducted from their "pay" and some wound up with no take home pay or were even in debt. Meanwhile, the administrative staff had very nice salaries and the supervisors weren't uncomfortable, either. The idea that the disabled should be grateful for the crumbs they are thrown is just disgusting.
The CEO of Goodwill should have all of his assets seized and left homeless for the evil he's levied on the mentally disabled.
Monsters walk amongst us...and most of them make a lot of money.
while in high school, 1974-1975 and made $1.85 an hour, after a raise. When I graduated from school, the job was still there but the pay never changed. Yet the minister had a private plane and had a Cadillac. His private secretary had a personal driver for her car. She had a hairdresser who came to the office in the middle of the day to do her hair. The office managers were married to each other and were certainly not paid minimum wage though not as lavishly as the higher ups. By the way, the office pool employees, myself included, certainly weren't disabled or mentally retarded.
That is all....
I don't care if the employees are receiving federal funds because in today's economy that still doesn't
amount to jack squat. I receive widow's benefits which goes to rent, my student loan, and insurances.
I live on $7.25 an hr. for 29 hrs. a week which after taxes comes out to about $375.00 every 2 weeks which breaks down to $185.00 a week which goes to food, gas, phone and electric. I have to rely on my daughter for car repairs ( I drive a 2001 Ford) and cable. When I asked for more hrs. I was told that the co. is keepng all employees below 30 due to Obamacare. That way the co. doesn't have to pay their share of the employee's health care cost, which has increased. And all future employees will also be p/t.. And yes, I continually look for better paying jobs, in fact I'll move for one if needed. Goodwill shold o the ight thing and pay minimum wages. Where is the ACLU on this? The media should be making a stink as much as they are with the Paula Deen story.
This is just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! GWI should be ashamed of themselves. This is why I only donate and shop at our local second hand stores.
It is not illegal to be a scumbag. Sad but True. The problem is it is illegal to trash their place.
We need to put signs at the collection points.
DONATE TO THE RICH
absolutely despicable of them. I used to donate to them on a regular basis, not any longer I won't/
To argue that paying 22 cents is better then nothing I argue nothing is better .Those employees are better off volunteering at another charity, hospital, or a senior citizens center or for their religious communities that they are associated with. .Yes I understand that other institutions will do the same thing, knowing that , the person applying should investigate who they are going to work for on any level , and pick out the who deserves their efforts
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