Goodwill Legally Pays Disabled Workers As Low as 22 Cents an Hour

Republican Congressman’s bill would phase out the exploitative practice – Published on AlterNet/Labor, by Steven Hsieh, June 21, 2013.

Goodwill Industries, a non-profit whose mission is to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families pays disabled workers as little as 22 cents an hour, NBC reports.

Harry Smith’s report, which aired on Rock Center with Brian Williams, probes a loophole in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 that allows employers to pay disabled workers far below the federal minimum wage. Section 14 (c) of FLSA grants certificates to certain employers, permitting them to pay adjusted wages to workers “whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability.” Qualified employers create “sheltered workshops,” “where employees typically perform manual tasks like hanging clothes” … //

… Meanwhile, Goodwill CEO and millionaire Jim Gibbons defended his charity’s practice of underpayment, telling NBC, “It’s typically not about their livelihood. It’s about their fulfillment. It’s about being a part of something. And it’s probably a small part of their overall program.”

NBC also spoke with Harold Leigland, a legally blind Goodwill worker with a different view from the company’s CEO. “We are trapped,” he said. “Everybody who works at Goodwill is trapped.”
(full text).

(Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh).

Links:

Welcome to the Fair Labor Standards Act FLSA
, on USDept of Labor / e-laws – FLSA Section 14(c) Advisor;

How Wall Street Fraudsters plunder Public Finances, and 5 ways to Fight Back, on AlterNet/Economy, by Alexander Arapoglou and Jerry-Lynn Scofield, June 19, 2013: Gaping regulatory holes that triggered funding crises in 2008 for states, cities, towns, and colleges have yet to be plugged.

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