By Annie Lane
Having relied on Goodwill for years as the place to drop off my “unwanteds” in the hope they would find new life with people who could better appreciate them (the tax write off was a nice touch, too), it saddens me to discover that the famous thrift store is, in many ways, just another large company run by a disconnected wealthy few who have forgotten what it means to demonstrate humanity, or, more aptly, good will unto others.
Sure, as the video below states, it should not be forgotten the incredible impact Goodwill has had on the communities it inhabits, including the countless people it has hired, disabled and otherwise. But wouldn’t you know that, much like President Obama’s current approval rating, my tolerance for companies that do mostly good while still managing to take advantage of some of the most vulnerable members of society is at an all time low.
So, along with all that good, it also should not be forgotten that the company’s CEOs choose to treat many of their disabled employees as less than the average worker. In fact, according to this NBC’s Wage War, many of Goodwill’s disabled employees are making as little as 22 cents an hour thanks to a loophole in the outdated Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This can only be classified as pathetic and inexcusable especially when many of Goodwill’s CEOs make more than $400,000 annually. In 2011, the CEO of Goodwill Industries of Southern California pocketed a hefty $1.1 million.
For those quick to jump and call this a cry for Socialism, it’s anything but. It isn’t even a demand for the return of that good, old ghost of the American Dream. It’s simply a request for the federal minimum wage (pathetic in and of itself, but another topic entirely) for all workers, regardless of any mental or physical limitations, in exchange for a job well done.