Goodwill Industries criticized for workshop wages

Monday, August 27, 2012 | 11:59 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The National Federation of the Blind is criticizing Goodwill Industries for wages paid at its sheltered workshops around the country.

The federation is calling for a boycott until the workers' wages are increased and the salary of Goodwill's national president is reduced. About 10 people protested outside a Goodwill retail store on Saturday.

The workshops hire people with severe disabilities. Critics say those employees often make far less than a dollar an hour.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that the workshops are exempt from federal minimum wage laws and usually pay employees based on productivity.

Goodwill officials said if the organization is forced to pay the minimum wage, the sheltered workshops likely would close. They said that would cause employees to lose their income and medical service from the government.

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