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Shame: One couple's experience working for "time studies" at Goodwill

Photo Credit NBC News; Harold Leigland works at the Goodwill facility in Great Falls, Montana, where he earns $5.46 an hour. 

The more I learn the more I'm shocked. 

We’ve really struck a cord. In just two days we are already nearing 3000 signatures calling for Goodwill to stop using a legal loophole to pay disabled workers less than minimum wage. I still can’t believe that a company that has build itself around raising up some of the most disadvantaged communities would use a loophole from a 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to grossly underpay some of the hardest working employees. As I’ve read more into this issue one thing as really stuck out, “time studies”.  

I wanted to share this telling section from a recent NBC article that spoke to a couple that had to regularly perform “time studies” in order keep their current wages while working for Goodwill (even though those wages were still well below minimum wage).

 Meet Harold and Sheila Leighland:

From Anna Schecter, Producer, NBC News - 
Harold’s wages have risen and fallen based on "time studies," the method nonprofits use to calculate the salaries of Section 14 (c) workers. Staff members use a stopwatch to determine how long it takes a disabled worker to complete a task. That time is compared with how long it would take a person without a disability to do the same task. The nonprofit then uses a formula to calculate a salary, which may be equal to or less than minimum wage. The tests are repeated every six months.

Harold Leigland works at the Goodwill facility in Great Falls, Montana, where he earns $5.46 an hour. Leigland's pay has been higher than $5.46, but it has also dropped down to $4.37 per hour, based on the time-study results. He said he believes Goodwill makes the time studies harder when they want his wage to be lower."Sometimes the test is easier than others. It depends on if, as near as I can figure, they want your wage to go up or down. It's that simple," he said.

His wife, Sheila, 58, spent four years hanging clothes at the Great Falls Goodwill for about $3.50 an hour. She said the time study was one of the most degrading and stressful parts about her job. "You never know how it's going to come out. It stressed me out a lot," she said.

She quit last summer when she returned to work after knee surgery and found that her wage had been lowered to $2.75 per hour, a training rate."At $2.75 it would barely cover my cost of getting to work. I wouldn't make any money," she said.

 You can watch the full report HERE.

 Stories like Harold and Sheila's are no doubt shared by disabled employees across the country and it has to stop.  If you have not already please take a momment to share this petiton with your community

Togeher we'll help bring dignity back to the workplace and demand Goodwill pay all their employees a fair wage.      

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