Group Calls for Passage of Fair Wages for Disabled Workers

August 25, 2012; Source: Albany Herald

One protestor held a sign reading, “We need jobs, not Goodwill” and another held a placard that read, “CEO Salary $500,000: Worker pay 20 cents.” In Albany, Ga., workers at a Goodwill store demonstrated to support a federal law under consideration: the Fair Wage for Workers with Disabilities Act, H.R. 3086, which would ensure the same minimum wage for disabled and non-disabled workers. The action was sponsored by the Federation for the Blind. Goodwill Industries of Wouthern Georgia and Alabama is crying foul, saying their 50 or so facilities pay new hires minimum wage and that they can then qualify for raises past 90 days, while also acknowledging that there are other areas where this isn’t the case.

In regards to the Albany, Ga. protest, Debbie McDonald of the National Federation for the Blind admits, “It isn’t at this Goodwill store, but there are other places and nonprofits that pay way under minimum wage…All we are asking is to abolish the subminimum wage. We want people to be aware of it.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 allows facilities employing workers with disabilities to apply for a special wage certificate to pay as low as 22 cents an hour. The proposed new law would no longer allow such certificates. –Ruth McCambridge