Boycott Goodwill (An Open, Angry Letter)

Dear Goodwill Industries,

I used to be a fan of your store.  It was, in fact, one of my favorites.  But then I found out about your dirty secret, and now I need a shower.

You claim you do so much good for people who have "barriers to employment" like seniors, ex-cons, veterans, and the disabled.  It might not be a lie, but I'm not very inclined to believe you.  You see, I'm a disabled person.  And you know what that means.

According to you, my labor is worth less than minimum wage.  Hell, it can be (legally) as little as you want.  Taking advantage of the provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act was genius, I admit.  That one little section means my toil is worth whatever you say for whatever reason as long as you're nonprofit and I'm disabled (and we know those things aren't changing).

There are people employed by you making twenty-two cents per hour, forty-four cents. You claim this is NOT a travesty, that you (benevolent being that you are) are employing those who would not work without you so GENEROUSLY hiring them.  For these people, oh great benefactor, transportation to their jobs cost more than you're paying.  That's right, blessed angel of mercy, they're LOSING money working for you.

And the "invaluable" skills you're teaching?  Save it!  You've already stated those under-paid disabled are unemployable, so no amount of "teaching" will help them find something better.  I'm so glad to see your attitude about fellow human beings matches your giving spirit.

I know your CEO is blind.  Don't use that fact as a shield, though you do pay him well, (over $700,000 a year) I'll give you that one,  And don't start rolling out all the examples of the people you've helped, either because you're rolling right over other people to make it happen.

I know not all of your stores are run by greedy, ableist monsters and only about half of them use the provision for slave labor.  But that's still half too many.  

And when advocates, disabled people, and non-bigots tried to get congress to close up your exploitation loophole?  You lobbied hard and fast to keep it exactly in place.  But only because it helps those with "employment barriers", right?  I mean, it has to, somehow.  Surely a sweet, compassionate organization like you is really doing it for them.  Or, if not, the savings from your sweatshop practices are helping other people train for better jobs; well, the ones who ARE employable.  *Wink Wink*

If you ever offered me a job, I'd politely ask you to go fornicate vigorously with a wooden spoon.  If I want to DONATE my time (which is what you're really after) I'll go where someone appreciates my skills, time, and humanity.


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