FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Federation of the Blind to Unmask Goodwill’s Exploitation of Workers with Disabilities
NFB Members to Educate Donors about Goodwill’s Discrimination Against Workers with Disabilities
Baltimore, Maryland (October 31, 2013): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States, announced that it will hold a public awareness event today regarding Goodwill Industries International’s payment of wages as low as pennies per hour to workers with disabilities. Members of the NFB will deliver copies of a recent Change.org petition to various Goodwill headquarters across the country. The petition garnered 170,000 signatures from Americans who demand that Goodwill pay its workers with disabilities a real wage.
Goodwill is one of the many nonprofit organizations that takes advantage of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an obscure provision that permits employers to pay workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage. For over seventy years, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act has allowed employers to obtain special wage certificates that permit them to pay their workers with disabilities wages far less than the federal minimum.
Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, in his banquet speech delivered at the 2013 NFB National Convention, said: “Our benevolent superiors (self-appointed, self-governing, self-important, self-willed) have determined that a wage structure in our country that offers to pay us less than the federally guaranteed minimum wage available to everybody else has been established for our own good…They tell us that our lives have been improved through this system of government-authorized discrimination, while they collect their six- and seven-figure compensation packages.”
Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS) has introduced H.R. 831, the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013, to repeal Section 14(c) of the FLSA. The National Federation of the Blind, along with a growing list of over sixty national and local cross-disability organizations, support the passage of H.R. 831 to responsibly repeal this discriminatory provision over a three-year period.