If you're looking for something to do this weekend and maybe looking for a worthy cause that needs your time and energy, consider taking a walk down to your local Goodwill location on Saturday at around 10:30 am. Perhaps it will be one of the 80 at which the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), and the disability advocacy group ADAPT have organized one of their informational protests regarding Goodwill's compensation policy for people with disabilities.
People With Disabilities Working for as Low as $0.22/Hour at Some Goodwill Locations
Regular readers may remember that earlier in the summer I wrote a post about this when it first became public knowledge. I thought the lowest that people were being paid was $1.44 an hour. As you can see, apparently it's been much lower in some places (http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/08/21/protests-target-goodwill/16285/). The NFB and other American disability organizations called for a boycott of Goodwill in America until they stopped the (sadly, legal) practice of giving locations discretion to pay workers with disabilities substantially below minimum wage. 64 of the 165 Goodwill-affiliated agencies in the US engage in this practice.
Goodwill argues that the certificate that allows them to pay people with disabilities below minimum wage is a "tool" that facilitates job creation for people that would otherwise find it very difficult to find work.
I don't know what's scariest about that "justification": that Goodwill actually believes that paying anyone $0.22 an hour to do anything is a "job", that they have the guts to put themselves out there as believing they do...or that there are people in this country, with or without disabilities, that need employment that badly or put so little value on the work that they they can do that they'd actually do work for that little money. It's a whole lot of wrong, on a whole lot of levels.
Breaking It Down a Little Further
It's difficult to understand how Goodwill doesn't see how this creates more issues than it solves.
- It's exploitative. No two ways about it.
- It does nothing to assist people with disabilities who are living in poverty to better their financial situation.
- It sets a poor example for the rest of the business community: "Goodwill does it, and we all know that they do good work for everyone, so it must be okay."
- It sets a poor example for the community, the country, and the world. Do we really need any more examples of people with disabilities being devalued?
I wrote more about this at: http://www.girlwiththecane.com/goodwill-industries/
The Goodwill Protests
As I said, the informational protests are happening at Goodwill locations across the country this Saturday, August 25, 11 am - 1 pm local time. You can keep tabs on what's happening by following @NFB_Voice on Twitter. Also check out this article for anything you'd ever want to know about the protests (including how to organize one in your area if one isn't going on, complete with promotional materials) and the Goodwill controversy: https://www.nfb.org/fair-wages#Protest
Spread the word and try to get to a protest yourself if you can!