[nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.

Wasif, Zunaira Zunaira.Wasif at dbs.fldoe.org
Tue Jun 12 16:00:57 UTC 2012


Sometimes extreme measures are required to overcome attitudinal hurdles
such as this one.  I haven't made up my mind about the quota but I know
that it helped African Americans enter the work place.   Maybe the only
way to quickly and effectively remedy this employment issue is through
reverse discrimination.  The legislation is there in the form of the ADA
and rehab acts, but it isn't implemented.  I work with clients every day
who can't get a job because the employer's computer system is running a
program that is incompatible with JAWS or Zoom text.  The fact that
employers are still purchasing this type of software is discriminatory!
It is the equivalent of not providing an elevator in a multiple level
building. Maybe the best antidote for this type of discrimination is
reverse discrimination.  The NFB is advocating for "more programs," but
the potential applicant shouldn't have to go through a lighthouse or
through any program.  They should be able to apply off of the street
like anyone else.  A blind applicant shouldn't require a certification
from a Lighthouse saying that they can type before an employer will even
interview them.  I'm working in this field and I see that happen every
day.  If a visually impaired client calls Hilton for a customer service
job the first question the recruiter asks is, "are you working with the
Lighthouse?"  The reason that companies do this is because they want
their corporate tax credit and they want assurance from the Lighthouse
that the blind person has the skills for the job.  My question is, how
do they find out if a nonvisually impaired employee has the skills?
They want an incentive to hire disabled people.  The attitude is "oh,
yeh?  You want me to hire a blind person?  You better give me a tax
break."  In other words, they are saying, "Oh yeh?  You better pay me to
hire that blind person."  This is the current situation.  Our government
pays people to hire disabled workers and companies like Goodwill thrive
off of this.  In job development exercises we are taught to market the
corporate tax credit, not the client.  How is this any better than the
quota system?  I'm not saying the quota system is perfect, but maybe
it's the best option we have right now. Maybe its an effective way of
proving that "we are worth something."    If there is a better option I
would love to hear it so I can advocate for it in my agency and make
change.      

-----Original Message-----
From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Sophie Trist
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:26 AM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.

The issue of hiring quotas for minority groups has popped up in the
past, and it has caused nothing but controversy. If there is to be
ahiring quota for disabled people, non-disabled people who were rejected
or whose jobs were taken away and given to the disabled could argue
reverse--discrimination. Besides, we want them to hire us because we're
worth something, not just because they have to fill a certain quota.
Evem mentally disabled individuals can perform simple factory jobs.

 ----- Original Message -----
From: "Wasif, Zunaira" <Zunaira.Wasif at dbs.fldoe.org
To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list" 
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org
Date sent: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 09:57:06 -0400
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.

What do people think about a hiring quota for disabled people?  
This
would render Good Will's argument, that disabled people need to settle
for subminum wages or no wages, obselete.
-----Original Message-----
From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org
[mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Kirt Manwaring
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 6:03 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.

Ashley,
  You said there may not be a set corporate policy, and I suppose you're
probably right.  But there should be, and that's why this boycott makes
sense to me.  If you have some branches paying any employees below the
minimum wage, you really do need a national policy to set that straight.
Unfortunate, but true.  I really think it is that simple...this is one
of those few issues where there isn't much of a grey area, in my humble
opinion.
  Take it or leave it,
Kirt

On 6/11/12, Ashley Bramlett <bookwormahb at earthlink.net> wrote:
 Elizabeth,
 Perhaps, the figure supports my theory that in fact most employees are

 paid

 above minimum wage. As Arielle said, most locations vary in what they
pay. I

 don't think there is a set corporate policy.

 Ashley

 -----Original Message-----
 From: Elizabeth
 Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 2:24 PM
 To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
 Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.

 Hi Greg,

 Please forgive me as I did not read through the entire article you
make reference to in your post. However, now that I have read it, I am

 still wondering how they can come up with an average of $7.47 when
someone is only making $1.44. I am not a math genius by any means, but

 it would seem to me that if someone is only making $1.44, and the
average is $7.47, then that would mean someone is making a  considerable
amount more than what most people are making to achieve  such an
average. Does this make any sense? I am not necessarily  questioning the
information you cited from the article, but rather  questioning the
information that was cited in the article itself.
 There is just something about it that does not make sense to me. 
I am
 sorry that I cannot find a better way to explain it.

 Warm regards,
 Elizabeth

 --------------------------------------------------
 From: "Greg Aikens" <gpaikens at gmail.com
 Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 12:26 PM
 To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
 <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
 Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.

 Hi Elizabeth,
 I should have included my sources.  The first was the article  recently
posted to the list by Anil Lewis:
 
http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/208068/189/Goodwill-Pays-Disabl
ed-E
 mployees-Less-than-Minimum-Wage This article gives the number of
employees impacted and their average wage.  The reason that an  average
wage of $7.47 could still be below minimum wage is because  many states
have minimum wage laws that are higher

 than the federal minimum wage.  For  a quick list of minimum wage by
state, go to:
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._minimum_wages

 Please check my facts in case I misread.

 -Greg

 On Jun 11, 2012, at 11:16 AM, Elizabeth wrote:

 Hi Gregg,

 I have to say that your numbers to not make much sense to me. If  these
employees are making $7.47 as mentioned in your post, , then  how
exactly

 does that constitute as a subminimum wage? Is it possible the
calculated

 average of these employees also includes the outrageously high
salaries of those who may hold management positions which in effect
would cancel out the extremely low subminimum wages paid to the  factory
worker or the

 average employee thus creating an average that appears to be above  the
national minimum wage? I am not sure where you found your  numbers, but
if

 what you state is true, then I do not see how this would be an issue

 of paying people subminimum wage.

 Warm regards,
 Elizabeth


 --------------------------------------------------
 From: "Greg Aikens" <gpaikens at gmail.com
 Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 10:46 AM
 To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
 <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
 Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.

 Sean's post got me thinking about how many employees are actually
impacted by this policy and how much it would cost for them to  actually

 make these changes.  According to the article Anil Lewis posted,  7300
employees are hired on their certificate to pay disabled  workers less
than minimum wage, but the average wage paid them is  $7.47, which is
actually higher than the federal minimum wage of  $7.25.  I can't say
what the average minimum wage for these workers

 would be because each state is different, but I wouldn't imagine it

 could be higher than $8.50.  So they would have to on average pay
workers with disabilities
 $1 more per hour, $40 more per week, $2080 per year.  Multiply that

 by the 7300 employees on the certificate and you get $15,184,000.

 I was surprised that the number of workers impacted by this policy  is
so

 high.

 Anyway, I thought these numbers were interesting and thought I  would
post in case others are interested too.

 -Greg
 On Jun 10, 2012, at 6:45 PM, Gmail wrote:

 Good afternoon,

 One of the primary purposes of the boycott is to garner media
attention

 for
 the minimum wage issue. The boycott effort and PR/media efforts  are
complementary rather than mutually exclusive.

 We "pick on" Good Will because they are one of, if not the,  largest
and

 most
 visible nonprofits who take advantage of the current law to pay
workers

 with
 disabilities subminimum wages. When you're the biggest fish in the

 pond you're going to get noticed and your actions will be  scrutinized
by people in and out of your field. That's just the  way it goes.

 Most of these workshops do the vast majority of their business  with
the federal government, providing goods and services through
non-competitive set-aside contracts. These goods and services are
frequently provided at costs that exceed their fair market value.
 Obviously Good Will has their hands in other activities as well,  but
the point stands. If taxpayers are being asked to subsidize  nonprofits
to create employment opportunities

 for
 blind or otherwise disabled individuals, and we all, in effect,
subsidize the very good, and sometimes exorbitant, salaries of the

 management of

 these
 non-profits, why is it a bad idea to subsidize the wages of  disabled
individuals, even those who may not be able to produce  output
justifying the minimum wage in the market?

 I think that the number of disabled folks in these workshops who  are
incapable of truly earning the minimum wage is much lower than

 most people assume. And, again, if there is somebody whose level  of
output truly only justifies $1.50 per hour, I am happy to  subsidize the
wage to give them

 the
 dignity of equal treatment under the law.

 I myself worked for a time in a shop and was paid less than $4 per

 hour. I'm worth more than that. I saw others in the very same  boat.
The law is discriminatory, and the system is corrupt and  fails to
achieve its stated goals. Not only should the minimum  wage apply, but
organizations wishing to receive preferential  treatment in government
contracting should have to

 fill
 a stated percentage of their managerial positions with folks with
disabilities and offer true training and upward mobility. As it  stands

 now,
 there is no real opportunity in the vast majority of these workshops.

 While it is true that, generally speaking, the NFB only speaks for

 the blind, on this issue we have over 40 different disabilities  rights
organizations standing shoulder to shoulder with us saying  that it is
reprehensible that we, today in the United States of  America, have a
law on the books that codifies the inferiority and

 lesser ability of those with disabilities. We, and they, are
completely correct. The boycott of Good

 Will
 is but one piece of the larger effort. It is incumbent upon each  of us

 to
 keep pressure on our Members of Congress to change the law. Will  it
cost Good Will and other non-profits more money to pay all  their
workers minimum wage? Yes, it will. Is the tiny increase in  cost
realistically going to

 lead
 to the loss of job opportunities as many of the workshops claim? 
I

 can't see how it would. In fact, it won't. And the argument is
disingenuous and, frankly, pretty disgusting. Say a shop worker
currently makes $1.50 an

 hour.
 Say the law is changed and minimum wage now applies. Say the  employee
is now paid $7.50 an hour. That's an extra $6 an hour, an

 extra $240 a week, and $12,480 a year. Say Good Will has 100  employees
of whom this is the case (in reality there are fewer).
 This would represent an annual cost increase

 of
 $1,248,000 to Good Will. That's a lot of money to you or me, but a

 pittance to this giant non-profit. The same can be said of smaller

 shops, just on a smaller scale. The argument that all the poor
unemployable disabled folks will be sent home jobless if the law  is
changed is bogus and cynical.
 As I
 said before, the majority of these shops get the majority of their

 business through non-competitive contracts with the government, so

 the additional labor cost would be built right into the price the
government pays.
 And, as
 I also said, I am happy to have my tax dollars go to affirm the
dignity, value and legal equality of all individuals rather than  to
support the

 70,
 80, 100k salaries of the management types at these shops who  somehow
sleep at night under the illusion, or maybe delusion, that

 they are doing something positive for people with disabilities.
 It's wrong, it's disgusting, and, yes, it hits a raw nerve with me

 because I've lived it. If there is a minimum wage it should apply  to
everybody in the employment market, full stop.

 Sean


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