[Nfbmo] Fwd: NFB responds to Goodwill Industries defense of paying subminimum wages

DanFlasar at aol.com DanFlasar at aol.com
Tue Jun 12 16:20:04 UTC 2012

Hi everybody - I sent this  message to all my non-NFB friends today - 
thought you  mnight be  interested.
 Hi all,
As you know, I am very involved in civil rights  issues for the disabled. 
Generally, these issues are non-partisan - we  usually can count on 
supporters from both sides of the aisle.    Please accept this note as informational.
One of the major issues for blind and disabled workers - in addition to  
high unemployment - has been the exploitation of a loophole in the Fair Labor  
Standards Act to allow workers w/ disabilities to be paid subminimum wage.  
Given that the minimum wage itself is barely enough to pay for living  
expenses, and given that living and transportation expenses for the disabled  
are generally much higher than the non-disabled, this practice places an  
increasingly difficult burden for these workers. This year a consortium of  
organizations - including the NFB - proposed changes to the Fair Labor  Act to 
eliminate this practice. Training programs, which aim to provide work  
experiences to the disabled with a stipend payment would not be  affected.
Goodwill Industries has resisted this effort. There is a link to their  
response to the NFB's call for a boycott of Goodwill with a nonspecific PR  
statement that does not address the heart of the issues (see link below).  


_a statement issued by Goodwill Industries International,  Inc.,_ 

As the story details below, Goodwill has refused to speak with the NFB  and 
other organizations of disabled 
workers about these issues.
We all know Goodwill and we probably all contribute to them. I certainly  
do and know they provide rare chances for training and employment for many  
people. However, their attempts to prevent changes to the Fair Employment Act 
 to provide minimum wage to their disabled employees tarnishes their  
reputation. It is important that they engage these organizations in  'good will' 

National Federation of the Blind Responds to
Goodwill Statement  on Sub minimum Wages

Baltimore, Maryland (June 11, 2012): _The National  Federation of the 
Blind_ (http://www.nfb.org/)  (NFB) today responded to _a  statement issued by 
Goodwill Industries International, Inc.,_ 
(http://www.goodwill.org/press-releases/goodwill®-believes-in-the-power-of-work-for-all-individuals/)  regarding 
 its payment of sub minimum wages to workers with  disabilities.

_Dr. Marc Maurer_ (http://www.nfb.org/marc-maurer-bio) , President  of the 
_National  Federation of the Blind_ 
(http://www.facebook.com/NationalFederationoftheBlind) , said: “Goodwill frames its opposition to _fair wages for 
workers with  disabilities_ (http://www.nfb.org/fair-wages)  in terms of 
choice. Goodwill wants the public­and in  particular its own employees with 
disabilities­to believe that the  only choice that Americans with 
disabilities have is between receiving  subminimum wages or receiving no wages at 
all. This is a false choice  based on inaccurate and self-serving propaganda 
put out by Goodwill and _other  subminimum-wage exploiters. _ 
(http://www.dol.gov/whd/specialemployment/CRPlist.htm) The reality is that workers with  
disabilities are not limited to the false choice presented by the industry  
that exploits them. Workers with even the most severe disabilities can and  
do engage in competitive employment every day. The way to lower the high  
unemployment rate among workers with disabilities is to enhance and expand  
existing programs­and to create new ones­that help them to find  and 
maintain competitive employment, not to exploit them in  subminimum-wage 
sweatshops. These sweatshops proclaim by their policies  and behavior to the 
public, to other employers, and to the employees  themselves that the workers 
aren't good enough to be regular employees  earning real wages in regular 
business. Disabled Americans reject this  false and misleading representation.”

Goodwill issued its  statement in response to an inquiry from WUSA, the CBS 
television  affiliate in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns =  
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Washington, D.C. WUSA  made the inquiry in 
_its  report_ 
(http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/208068/189/Goodwill-Pays-Disabled-Employees-Less-than-Minimum-Wage)  on _the  NFB’s call for a boycott 
of Goodwill Industries_ 
(http://www.nfb.org/national-federation-blind-urges-boycott-goodwill-industries) , which was issued last  week after repeated 
attempts to meet with Goodwill officials. NFB  representatives were interviewed 
on camera and, along with the WUSA  reporter, sought to speak with Goodwill’
s president and chief executive  officer, but Goodwill declined a meeting 
or to be interviewed on camera.  

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