Protesters to urge boycott, demand fair wages
Baltimore, Maryland (August 20, 2012): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), one of the oldest and largest organizations of Americans with disabilities, announced today that it, along with other organizations of people with disabilities, will conduct over eighty coordinated nationwide protests in front of thrift stores operated by Goodwill Industries International, Inc., the nonprofit manufacturer and retailer. The informational protests will raise awareness of Goodwill’s practice of paying subminimum wages to many of its workers with disabilities. Freedom of information requests filed by the NFB confirmed that Goodwill Industries employees with disabilities have been paid as low as $0.22 an hour. The NFB and nearly fifty other organizations of people with disabilities 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. The protests will take place on Saturday, August 25, generally from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time at Goodwill thrift store locations throughout the United States.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “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. We are conducting informational protests to make the public aware of this practice that, although sadly still legal, is unfair, discriminatory, and immoral. 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. 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.”
For more information about the protests, contact Anil Lewis, director of Strategic Communications at the National Federation of the Blind, by phone at (410) 659-9314, extension 2374, or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more background regarding this critically important issue, please visit www.nfb.org/fair-wages.
About the National Federation of the Blind
With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation’s blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.