Monday, July 8, 2013

In Defense of Goodwill

If you haven't hear there is a new bandwagon to jump on. More petitions going around, more half information being spread and getting people all riled up. I'm sure all is meant well but if you don't look at the big picture not just a tiny portion of it you could end up doing more harm than good.

This weeks bandwagon cause goodwill. There are some people on the payroll who make well below minimum wage. This is legal so no laws are being broken. Now on first glance one immediately jumps to how dare they pay disabled people below minimum wage. How dare they treat them as less than. OK I get it but you are only looking at the dollar amount. You are not looking at the person or their situation.

Several news reports have been made slamming goodwill and their pay scale. They even have a line of disability activist that they speak too. Who of course say this is wrong, its degrading, etc. You know who they don't talk to, the people working at goodwill. I'm sorry but I don't think a "advocate" with a six figure salary gets it. They don't have to worry about money or insurance they already have it. 

Your probably wondering where I am going with this and how could I even think what they are doing is right. I'm getting there I promise. There is another issue that has not been discussed in the media when it comes to goodwill employees. Social Security. There are a lot of people who work at goodwill that also draw social security and disability. They can only make so much money, $1 more and they will lose SS, disability, medicaid, and any other assistance they may be receiving. 

Now your probably thinking well if we raise their pay then they wouldn't need the assistance. Not necessarily true. Have you every tried to live on minimum wage and nothing more. So the rally cry of lets bump everyone to minimum wage could leave people in a worse place than where you think they are at $2 a hour. Now they have minimum wage but zero assistance. Their SS is gone their medical insurance is gone. So how have you helped? That's nice you feel good about yourself but what about the people who's lives you turned upside down because you didn't look at the whole picture.

I know a lady who works for goodwill and I asked her about this. She did not tell me how much she makes just said it was under minimum wage, but she was OK with that. She is a older lady and draws SS. If she makes to much money she will lose her SS and not be able to make her bills. For her work is not about the money, it gets her out of her house and with people. She says she likes it there. That she is treated with respect and feels appreciated by the managers. 

I also know of a woman who does similar work for another organization. If she was to make minimum wage she would lose SS, medicaid, her mother would lose the respite service that the woman herself (not mom) loves.  Not only would the woman be in a worse place financially but emotionally as well. How would you feel if every month you had to ask family to help you out with your bills? What if something you love where your friends are was taken from you? 

That is just two people I personally know, but what would others say? Has anyone starting the petitions bothered to talk to them? Ask the people who would be affected by their petitions what they think? How will this affect you? 

I'm not saying those jumping on the bandwagon are bad people. I know they think they are doing right, but once again they are only looking at a tiny portion of the picture. It's easy to look through your glass walls and think this is what they need, but if you don't ask the people it affects you just don't know.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I actually had no idea the income requirements are so low, but I looked into it, and you're right. The income cut off is extremely low.