Goodwill exploits workers with penny wages

  • metta

    Posts: 39161

    Jul 10, 2013 1:19 AM GMT
    Goodwill exploits workers with penny wages




    (edit: removed image of ceo compensation)



    Disabled workers paid just pennies an hour – and it's legal
    http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/25/19062348-disabled-workers-paid-just-pennies-an-hour-and-its-legal?lite
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    Jul 10, 2013 4:00 AM GMT
    What is up with them anyway? They're tearing down a perfectly good empty grocery store to put up a custom-building in the next town... for used clothes? In fact, they've been putting up brand new buildings in every town in the state. It must be billions of dollars in real estate.

    My thought was that it must be some sort of front for homeland security or something...
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    Jul 10, 2013 4:08 AM GMT
    This is absolutely vile. Hardly anybody can live off of less than minimum wage, and hell- 5-year-old kids are paid better than this.
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Jul 10, 2013 6:01 AM GMT
    Though I'm surprised, I really shouldn't be... icon_neutral.gif
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    Jul 10, 2013 8:32 AM GMT
    This is completely terrible.

    However, just for some balance, there is something that I did not see addressed in the report.

    The wages for sheltered workshops aren't totally based on production tests. Another factor that contributes to the wage-benefits for these workers is their other sources of government income - so if they receive social security disability, they have a max dollar amount they can make or they have to pay back their social security.

    The way that is usually handled, though, is by adjusting their hours worked, not their wage, but that may vary from state to state.

    Some of these wages reported is inhumane.
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    Jul 10, 2013 1:07 PM GMT
    As the father of a special needs child (both physically and mentally challenged), I've seen only one response here that was actually thought out and articulated, thank you for that.

    Shame on NBC for not presenting the full story and the facts behind the story.

    Shame on the rest of you, for watching a clip that provides little if any facts on the back story of this very complicated issue and coming to uninformed conclusions without bothering to find out the facts behind the story or caring about the unintended consequences that result from such uninformed opinions.

    Shame on this OP, for once again and continually making this kind of post without putting any effort into finding out and understanding the facts behind this story (and many other stories) and not caring about the people and lives impacted by the uninformed opinions solicited from this kind of post.

    Shame on the Admin for continuing to allow this kind of post by this OP and the kind of disinformation that solicits uninformed opinion on potentially controversial issues that has real consequences on real lives that apparently the OP, those who form opinions based on so little information and the Admin don't care to bother to understand.
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    Jul 10, 2013 2:38 PM GMT
    Shame....shame....shame

    Instead of shaming everyone, Shybuffguy, perhaps you would like to provide the counterpoint perspective on why the report is erroneous.

    Why disparage the OP and other posters? Just provide the facts as you see them.
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    Jul 10, 2013 2:44 PM GMT
    shybuffguy said As the father of a special needs child (both physically and mentally challenged), I've seen only one response here that was actually thought out and articulated, thank you for that.

    Shame on NBC for not presenting the full story and the facts behind the story.

    Shame on the rest of you, for watching a clip that provides little if any facts on the back story of this very complicated issue and coming to uninformed conclusions without bothering to find out the facts behind the story or caring about the unintended consequences that result from such uninformed opinions.

    Shame on this OP, for once again and continually making this kind of post without putting any effort into finding out and understanding the facts behind this story (and many other stories) and not caring about the people and lives impacted by the uninformed opinions solicited from this kind of post.

    Shame on the Admin for continuing to allow this kind of post by this OP and the kind of disinformation that solicits uninformed opinion on potentially controversial issues that has real consequences on real lives that apparently the OP, those who form opinions based on so little information and the Admin don't care to bother to understand.


    When I was younger and living in a suburb of Edmonton, Alberta, the local grocery store used to hire disabled workers to bag the groceries and help carry them out. These people were paid at least the minimum wage as was legally required. I'm not sure what's wrong with America, but we seem to have figured it out up here. We have very few exceptions to the minimum wage.
    http://humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/minimum-wage.pdf
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    Jul 10, 2013 2:50 PM GMT
    while paying people illegal wages is reprehensible, the CEO's salary has nothing to do with it. Thats just political spin. Its stuff like that that takes away from causes like this, not add to them.
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    Jul 10, 2013 3:41 PM GMT
    Dallasfan824 saidwhile paying people illegal wages is reprehensible, the CEO's salary has nothing to do with it. Thats just political spin. Its stuff like that that takes away from causes like this, not add to them.

    No it does not take away from these causes. It provides a graphic demonstration of the expropriation of surplus value (ie: most of the money that the workers' earn for the company does not go to them.) That's certainly not to say that the CEO deserves nothing, but it is most definitely to say that the CEO shouldn't be getting so much more than the people who are physically bringing in the company's wealth.
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    Jul 10, 2013 4:22 PM GMT
    Shybuffguy never got around to saying that if it wasn't for Goodwill, these people wouldn't have a job at all, which is a tremendous confidence booster
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    Jul 10, 2013 4:40 PM GMT
    wyrln saidShybuffguy never got around to saying that if it wasn't for Goodwill, these people wouldn't have a job at all, which is a tremendous confidence booster


    I think if these people were paid a decent wage then they could rely less on the social safety net. icon_wink.gif
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    Jul 10, 2013 5:24 PM GMT
    wyrln saidShybuffguy never got around to saying that if it wasn't for Goodwill, these people wouldn't have a job at all, which is a tremendous confidence booster


    What everyone else seems to be saying is that it would be better for these people never to have been hired at all than to be paid lower wages that would give places like Goodwill the incentive to employ them. They would rather the government pay them more to do nothing than for them to do anything at all.
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    Jul 10, 2013 5:32 PM GMT
    osakarob saidShame....shame....shame

    Instead of shaming everyone, Shybuffguy, perhaps you would like to provide the counterpoint perspective on why the report is erroneous.

    Why disparage the OP and other posters? Just provide the facts as you see them.


    To answer your question, this particular OP has habit, all too often, of making this kind of post that is one sided and agenda driven devoid of any facts that only solicits more uninformed opinion. The reality is that uninformed opinion, all too often, drives policy in this country and the results of uninformed opinion driven policy is that the unintended consequences of such policy makes the lives of too many real people dealing with these issues a living nightmare.

    As far as the facts you don't want the facts. If I gave the facts, most of you wouldn't even bother to take the time read them.
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    Jul 10, 2013 5:36 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    wyrln saidShybuffguy never got around to saying that if it wasn't for Goodwill, these people wouldn't have a job at all, which is a tremendous confidence booster


    I think if these people were paid a decent wage then they could rely less on the social safety net. icon_wink.gif


    You proved my point enitrely ! How can you think anything about an issue, when you don't know or understand the facts of the issue ?
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    Jul 10, 2013 5:47 PM GMT
    Shybuffguy, you do not like that people have jumped to a conclusion about something they do not understand, yet you have jumped to a conclusion about people you do not know. What's the difference?

    I think you would be better to provide some counterpoints based on your experience.

    I used to work for my state's rehabilitation services and we employed some severely disabled at the sheltered workshop.

    Here's my understanding:

    Most of these employees are not there because of the need of income. They receive social security and other forms of disability. They are there for the experience of working. There wages are based on the thresholds they can make based on their other income sources. If the goal was mainstream employment (like McDonalds), they would be placed with a job coach. However, for whatever the reason they are not employable in the mainstream market (usually severe cognitive limitations or severe behavioral/mental health issues).

    Working in a sheltered workshop builds confidence and independence. The news report was mostly propaganda and did not give a balanced viewpoint.

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    Jul 10, 2013 6:19 PM GMT
    TheQuest saidShybuffguy, you do not like that people have jumped to a conclusion about something they do not understand, yet you have jumped to a conclusion about people you do not know. What's the difference?

    I think you would be better to provide some counterpoints based on your experience.

    I used to work for my state's rehabilitation services and we employed some severely disabled at the sheltered workshop.

    Here's my understanding:

    Most of these employees are not there because of the need of income. They receive social security and other forms of disability. They are there for the experience of working. There wages are based on the thresholds they can make based on their other income sources. If the goal was mainstream employment (like McDonalds), they would be placed with a job coach. However, for whatever the reason they are not employable in the mainstream market (usually severe cognitive limitations or severe behavioral/mental health issues).

    Working in a sheltered workshop builds confidence and independence. The news report was mostly propaganda and did not give a balanced viewpoint.



    Explain how I jumped to any conclusions about anyone? At the time of my original post, I simply read what was posted at the time. With the exception of your original post, the other posts registered disgust and distrust for a program they had very few real facts about and no understanding of. so, how did I jump to the conclusions about anyone?
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    Jul 10, 2013 6:27 PM GMT
    shybuffguy said
    TheQuest saidShybuffguy, you do not like that people have jumped to a conclusion about something they do not understand, yet you have jumped to a conclusion about people you do not know. What's the difference?

    I think you would be better to provide some counterpoints based on your experience.

    I used to work for my state's rehabilitation services and we employed some severely disabled at the sheltered workshop.

    Here's my understanding:

    Most of these employees are not there because of the need of income. They receive social security and other forms of disability. They are there for the experience of working. There wages are based on the thresholds they can make based on their other income sources. If the goal was mainstream employment (like McDonalds), they would be placed with a job coach. However, for whatever the reason they are not employable in the mainstream market (usually severe cognitive limitations or severe behavioral/mental health issues).

    Working in a sheltered workshop builds confidence and independence. The news report was mostly propaganda and did not give a balanced viewpoint.



    Explain how I jumped to any conclusions about anyone? At the time of my original post, I simply read what was posted at the time. With the exception of your original post, the other posts registered disgust and distrust for a program they had very few real facts about and no understanding of. so, how did I jump to the conclusions about anyone?


    For one thing, the OP Metta - posts articles he finds. He does not post specific opinions based on them - it is an opening for discussion. Many times, I have seen him follow-up with additional articles that may demonstrate both sides. Or - others will provide the counterpoints. That is the purpose of a discussion board. Metta's articles are meant to be a springboard to conversation about current topics.

    Second, you posted that people aren't interested in reading your counterpoints. That is making an assumption about people that is untrue. In fact, I was interested in seeing your perspective as I know others that posted are. I know because I have interacted with many of these people over the last couple of years.

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    Jul 10, 2013 6:46 PM GMT
    TheQuest said
    shybuffguy said
    TheQuest saidShybuffguy, you do not like that people have jumped to a conclusion about something they do not understand, yet you have jumped to a conclusion about people you do not know. What's the difference?

    I think you would be better to provide some counterpoints based on your experience.

    I used to work for my state's rehabilitation services and we employed some severely disabled at the sheltered workshop.

    Here's my understanding:

    Most of these employees are not there because of the need of income. They receive social security and other forms of disability. They are there for the experience of working. There wages are based on the thresholds they can make based on their other income sources. If the goal was mainstream employment (like McDonalds), they would be placed with a job coach. However, for whatever the reason they are not employable in the mainstream market (usually severe cognitive limitations or severe behavioral/mental health issues).

    Working in a sheltered workshop builds confidence and independence. The news report was mostly propaganda and did not give a balanced viewpoint.



    Explain how I jumped to any conclusions about anyone? At the time of my original post, I simply read what was posted at the time. With the exception of your original post, the other posts registered disgust and distrust for a program they had very few real facts about and no understanding of. so, how did I jump to the conclusions about anyone?


    For one thing, the OP Metta - posts articles he finds. He does not post specific opinions based on them - it is an opening for discussion. Many times, I have seen him follow-up with additional articles that may demonstrate both sides. Or - others will provide the counterpoints. That is the purpose of a discussion board. Metta's articles are meant to be a springboard to conversation about current topics.

    Second, you posted that people aren't interested in reading your counterpoints. That is making an assumption about people that is untrue. In fact, I was interested in seeing your perspective as I know others that posted are. I know because I have interacted with many of these people over the last couple of years.



    I'll tell you exactly where I am with this issue and then you can see how many people actually bother to take the time to read what I've written and actually try to understand what I've presented.
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    Jul 10, 2013 6:53 PM GMT
    shybuffguy said
    TheQuest said
    shybuffguy said
    TheQuest saidShybuffguy, you do not like that people have jumped to a conclusion about something they do not understand, yet you have jumped to a conclusion about people you do not know. What's the difference?

    I think you would be better to provide some counterpoints based on your experience.

    I used to work for my state's rehabilitation services and we employed some severely disabled at the sheltered workshop.

    Here's my understanding:

    Most of these employees are not there because of the need of income. They receive social security and other forms of disability. They are there for the experience of working. There wages are based on the thresholds they can make based on their other income sources. If the goal was mainstream employment (like McDonalds), they would be placed with a job coach. However, for whatever the reason they are not employable in the mainstream market (usually severe cognitive limitations or severe behavioral/mental health issues).

    Working in a sheltered workshop builds confidence and independence. The news report was mostly propaganda and did not give a balanced viewpoint.



    Explain how I jumped to any conclusions about anyone? At the time of my original post, I simply read what was posted at the time. With the exception of your original post, the other posts registered disgust and distrust for a program they had very few real facts about and no understanding of. so, how did I jump to the conclusions about anyone?


    For one thing, the OP Metta - posts articles he finds. He does not post specific opinions based on them - it is an opening for discussion. Many times, I have seen him follow-up with additional articles that may demonstrate both sides. Or - others will provide the counterpoints. That is the purpose of a discussion board. Metta's articles are meant to be a springboard to conversation about current topics.

    Second, you posted that people aren't interested in reading your counterpoints. That is making an assumption about people that is untrue. In fact, I was interested in seeing your perspective as I know others that posted are. I know because I have interacted with many of these people over the last couple of years.



    I'll tell you exactly where I am with this issue and then you can see how many people actually bother to take the time to read what I've written and actually try to understand what I've presented.


    Well, even if one person reads and understands your perspective, at the very least you have communicated. Even if people don't comment, it doesn't mean that they didn't read and learn something. Again, you are making an assumption about people you do not even know. Yes, there are going to be people who don't even read or don't get it, but then there are others who work with children with special needs or employ people with various capabilities. Everyone has a different background and experience. We learn from our exchanges with each other. That's what makes it valuable. Criticizing without sharing your knowledge makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    I do think you are a very smart and nice guy and have a lot to offer to all of us here if you were only willing to share it. I do wish you the best.
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    Jul 10, 2013 7:05 PM GMT
    First of all there is a glaring misconception presented almost at the very beginning of the clip.

    There is no loophole. The law was intentionally written that way to provide some kind of employment for people who are otherwise unemployable. By presenting it as a loophole it makes it seem so much more shady than actually presenting the reality behind the lay and implies that those people involved in sheltered work programs are somehow doing something wrong and unfair. The clip never points out that there is a lengthy and complicated government licensing procedure that required to set up a sheltered work program.


    There are some important pieces of information not presented about the blind couple that might well change the entire story presented in the clip.
    The blind couple are not teenagers moving out of their parents house for the first time, but a middle aged couple. What was their source of income before working for the Goodwill? My guess is they weren't bagging groceries at the local walmart. Yet they had to have some form of income prior to the five years or less that worked for the Goodwill. From what I know about these programs and the people eligible for them, their source of income was most likely Social Security. If that is the case then it changes the story presented completely. Because the reason for their low wages would be to keep them within the income threshold that they wouldn't have to pay back overages from future benefits payments.
    The other question is, they are both college educated, so why did they go to work for the goodwill and not enter the private sector? if they were indeed drawing Social Security payments they ability to work and the amount of wages they could legally earn would have been limited. They both had to have incomes to pay living expenses while in college. Again if they were already drawing Social Security payments when they went to work for the Goodwill their ability to earn would have been limited and if that were the case the story would be very different than what is actually presented in the clip.
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    Jul 10, 2013 7:11 PM GMT
    I do agree with you. I wondered the same thing about the blind couple. There are some problems with their story. If they were college educated, then I think in most states, they would be considered employable in the private sector and wouldn't be eligible to work in a sheltered workshop in the first place.

    That is unless they had been diagnosed with some behavioral disorders that prohibited them to work out in the public. For instance someone that is severely schizophrenic might work in a sheltered workshop because they wouldn't be able to hold employment in the private sector for an extended period of time.

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    Jul 10, 2013 7:40 PM GMT
    In order to understand sheltered work programs someone would need to understand something about the people who are in the programs. An example would be those who are mentally challenged.

    Mentally challenged persons fall roughly into three groups;
    A. Profoundly handicapped. Those people who are unable to do anything for themselves.
    B. Trainable. Those people who are able to be trained to do a task through repetition, in much the same way one would train a puppy. No, I am not comparing these wonderful people to dogs, simply explaining that like a puppy if something isn't in order then they are often unable to complete the task they were trained to do.
    C. Teachable. These are people able to be taught within limits of their understanding , much the same as unchallenged people are.


    1.Those people who qualify for shelter work programs are most often trainable and on the lower end of the teachable spectrum or have severe physical limits or both. These are people who otherwise would have no hope of employment.

    2. Most of the people qualifying for sheltered work programs are already receiving some form of government benefits.

    3. Many of the people who qualify either live at home with their families or in government or privately funded group homes where most of their living expenses are already met.

    4. Many of those who qualify are already receiving Social Security benefits. In this case they are not allowed to make over a certain amount of additional income. Depending on the amount over their benefits they make they may have to pay back the overage they've made or they may forfeit their benefits entirely.

    5. Because of the government benefits many of those who qualify receive, they are not allowed to have $2000 or more in their account for more than 30 days. If they have $2000 or more in their account for 30 days or more they risk forfeiting their benefits.

    6.Because so many who qualify for these programs are entirely unemployable for whatever reasons,the only way they have to earn work credits toward title II benefits (disability) through these programs. Without these programs these people would have no way to earn title II benefits because they are earned through work.

    Taking into account just these facts changes the picture presented in the clip substantially. The reality is that the majority of people in these programs are limited by law as to how much they can make and not by those who administer the programs.

  • metta

    Posts: 39161

    Jul 10, 2013 7:52 PM GMT
    ^
    Thanks for taking the time to post that. Maybe what needs to happen is we need to update the government requirements to allow a little more flexibility, while at the same time, trying to minimize abuse.
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    Jul 10, 2013 8:00 PM GMT
    Last time I went into a Goodwill store the prices on many of the items had jumped significantly. They wanted $4 for used hard-cover books. They used to be $1 a few months ago.

    Someone must have have seen $$$$ when they realized more and more people were opting to shop there.