[nfbmi-talk] blind students picket goodwill
joe harcz Comcast
joeharcz at comcast.net
Wed Aug 29 21:10:06 UTC 2012
Blind students picket Goodwill
Jige Kanshin, a blind Zen Buddhist monk, leads a picket line in front of a Denver Goodwill store Aug. 25. Staff and students from Littleton's Colorado Center
for the Blind joined 50 or so other groups around the nation in an effort to call attention to what they say are Goodwill's discriminatory wage practices.
Photo by Jennifer Smith
Posted: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 2:26 pm | Updated: 2:28 pm, Tue Aug 28, 2012.
Blind students picket Goodwill
jsmith at ourcoloradonews.com
Community Media of Colorado |
Staff and students from Colorado Center for the Blind in Littleton have taken part in a national effort to protest what they call Goodwill Industries’ unfair
The National Federation of the Blind and nearly 50 other organizations marched in support of the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act on Aug. 25,
which would phase out a 75-year-old provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that permits special certificate holders to pay subminimum wages to workers
“Taking advantage of a loophole in the law is nothing more than greed,” said Jige Kanshin, a blind Zen Buddhist monk who participated in the protest along
with a few dozen others at the Goodwill retail outlet at 21 S. Broadway in Denver.
More than 80 such protests were organized throughout the country after NFB obtained documents indicating Goodwill employees with disabilities were paid
as little as 22 cents an hour.
“Goodwill Industries is one of the most well-known charitable organizations in the United States, but most members of the general public are unaware that
Goodwill exploits people with disabilities,” Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said in a statement.
“Given its lucrative retail operations and the fact that it can lavish half-a-million dollars on the salary of its president and chief executive officer,
Goodwill is certainly in a position to stop exploiting its workers with disabilities,” he continued. “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 all of its workers with disabilities.”
Employees of the Broadway Goodwill briefly emerged from the store to hand out a statement from the company.
“Every Goodwill retail-store employee is paid at or above minimum wage, including those with disabilities,” it reads.
“For more than 90 years, Goodwill has been providing employment tools for people with a broad range of disabilities, including the most significant disabilities,
to enter the workforce,” the statement continued. “Providing a safe and nurturing environment for people with employment challenges to reach their full
potential is what we do at Goodwill. Goodwill looks for ways in which people can maximize their productivity and move into competitive integrated employment.”
James Gashel, spokeman for the picketers, noted the statement doesn’t say anything about employees who don’t work in the retail stores but perhaps in the
warehouses or in janitorial services, for instance.
“This idea of the subminimum wage is just wrong, and the public needs to know about it,” said Gashel.
Littleton City Councilor Bruce Stahlman is the chief financial officer of Arc Thrift Stores and says his company pays all hourly workers minimum wage or
“Our goal is to treat everyone the same, and that’s what we do,” he said. “It’s the culture of our organization. As a parent of twins with developmental
disabilities, I certainly respect members of (NFB) utilizing their right to stand up for something they feel strongly about.”
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