Goodwill draws protestors

Protestors gathered outside the Albany Goodwill. / Sean Streicher

Section 14(C) of the Fair Labor and Standards Act allows businesses to apply for a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, that permits them to pay disabled employees under minimum wage.

Americans with disabilities are trying to bring awareness to the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act (H.R. 3086), a new bill that has been introduced that will phase out this certificate.

The National Federation of the Blind has organized informational protest at Goodwill location across the country. The Federation claims some Goodwill organizations pay their employees as little as $.20 an hour.

This is not the case however for Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, which the Albany Goodwill is a part of.

"We don't have a 14C so our team members are all paid above minimum wage actually. Entry level is at $7.35 an hour, after 90 days there is a performance review and they get increases", said Jane Nichols, the president/CEO of Goodwill Southern Rivers.

Goodwill Industries International has a network of 165 local organizations, 64 of them utilize this certificate. These 64 Goodwills employee approximately 7,300 people with disability, the average wage paid to those people is $7.47 an hour.