Thursday, June 14, 2012

NFB's Boycott of Goodwill Industries.

The following information is in regards to the NFB Boycot of Goodwill Industries. I have compiled all info & updates on this topic. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Chris Danielsen Director of Public Relations National Federation of the Blind (410) 659-9314, extension 2330 (410) 262-1281(Cell) National Federation of the Blind Urges Boycott of Goodwill Industries Condemns Practice of Paying Subminimum Wages to Workers with Disabilities Baltimore, Maryland (June 7, 2012): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), one of the oldest and largest organizations of Americans with disabilities, today called for a boycott of Goodwill Industries International, Inc., the nonprofit manufacturer and retailer, for its payment of subminimum wages to many of its workers with disabilities. Freedom of information requests filed by the NFB confirmed that Goodwill Industries employees have been paid as low as $1.44 an hour. The NFB and over forty-five other organizations support legislation, the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act (H.R. 3086), which would phase out and then repeal the nearly seventy-five-year-old provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that permits special certificate holders to pay subminimum wages to workers with disabilities. Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Goodwill Industries is one of the most well-known and lucrative charitable organizations in the United States, yet it chooses to pay its workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage. While this practice is currently legal and many entities engage in it, many other nonprofit organizations have successfully transitioned to paying their employees the minimum wage or higher. That Goodwill Industries exploits many of its workers in this way is ironic, because its president and chief executive officer is blind. Goodwill cannot credibly argue that workers with disabilities are incapable of doing productive work while paying its blind CEO over half a million dollars a year. Goodwill should be ashamed of such blatant hypocrisy. 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 its workers with disabilities.” For more information on this critically important issue, please visit End 1 Dear Fellow Federationists: We thought that you would like to know that our call for a boycott of Goodwill Industries International, Inc. received coverage in the Washington, D.C. area. You can read and view the report from Washington's CBS affiliate, WUSA Channel 9, by visiting . Note for screenreader users: Below the article title and the link to read and post comments, there is an unlabeled graphic. Although your screen reader will simply spit out a series of letters and numbers, this graphic is clickable; if you press enter, the video of the report that aired on the television station will play. Please take a moment to read and watch this report. You may also wish to post a comment expressing your views in support of fair wages for workers with disabilities. Sincerely: Chris Danielsen End 2 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE National Federation of the Blind Responds to Goodwill Statement on Subminimum Wages Baltimore, Maryland (June 11, 2012): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today responded to a statement issued by Goodwill Industries International, Inc., regarding its payment of subminimum wages to workers with disabilities. Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Goodwill frames its opposition to fair wages for workers with disabilities 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. 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 Washington, D.C. WUSA made the inquiry in its report on the NFB’s call for a boycott of 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. End 3 Dear Fellow Federationist: As you know, we are working to pass H.R. 3086, the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2011. This bill phases out the subminimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act over a three-year period. As of today, we have forty-six supporting organizations and seventy-eight cosponsors. Goodwill Industries International not only refuses to support this bill but has been advocating against fair wages for disabled Americans. Paying people with disabilities less than the minimum wage is unfair, discriminatory, and immoral. On June 7, we announced a nationwide boycott of all Goodwill stores. Please continue the boycott and urge others to do the same. Second, please contact your local Goodwill affiliate and transmit or deliver the attached letter from Dr. Maurer to both the president and entire local Goodwill board of directors. Urge the board of directors to (1) adopt and publicize policies against the payment of subminimum wages, and (2) endorse H.R. 3086. Third, contact your local media and tell them about the subminimum wages, Goodwill, and the boycott. Ask them to report on this subject. Be sure to keep us apprised of your activity by emailing us at We will not rest until the law that permits the payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities is repealed. Mr. Anil Lewis, M.P.A. "Eliminating Subminimum Wages for People with Disabilities"

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