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On Disability, Humanity and Dignity

On June 21, 2013, NBC aired a story entitled: “Activists Say Goodwill Exploits Workers with Penny Wages”, about the practice in some, but not all Goodwill stores of paying workers with disabilities wages far below the Federal Minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The wage disparities are legal according to a provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938 and reflective of its time, a time in which sheltered workshops were quite common. Numerous disability advocacy organizations and individuals with disabilities have been asking Goodwill to cease this practice and to start paying employees with disabilities wages equivalent to employees without disabilities. It has also been pointed out numerous times that Goodwill has a $5 billion gross annual budget and that its CEOs are compensated quite handsomely. How, then, can this practice be perpetuated?

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