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Goodwill's Bad Reputation

In recent news, I was appalled to find that my favorite source to buy clothing has developed a bad reputation for paying disabled workers under minimum wage. According to NBC News, Some disabled workers in Pennsylvania were payed as low as 22 cents per hour in 2011. Thanks to a legal loophole, this is not technically a violation of any labor standard.

Goodwill Industries is a company that prides itself on providing opportunities to
"enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work."

One of the main reasons why I had always shopped at Goodwill, besides the variety of clothing at bargain prices, is that I believed each purchase would help serve my community. Goodwill claims to treat workers with respect and dignity while achieving high ethical standards. In reality, I found Goodwill is systematically discriminating against workers by denying them the opportunity to have equal pay, treating them as second class citizens. Meanwhile, the company can afford to pay executives six figure salaries.

Goodwill's executives argue that their disabled workers have a different definition of "success", but they seem to ignore the fact that these workers still have families and bills they need to afford. The company may not see it this way, but by paying certain workers less, Goodwill is saying that these people are less valuable.

With a heavy heart, I find myself choosing not to shop at Goodwill while this treatment continues. There are many other thrift stores without a reputation like Goodwill's. Alternatively, I might find myself shopping more at local thrift stores, Value Village, or America's Thrift Store.

If you still shop at Goodwill, please take this recent exposure into consideration. Many people, including myself, have friends or family with disabilities. It saddens me to see such deplorable treatment.


  1. These wages are embarrasingly low!! It doesn't even cover the need for their daily food :(.

    1. Goodwill employs disabled in "sheltered workshops," which are reminiscent of sweat shops. It is embarrassingly low.

  2. That's awful! I had no idea... And considering I get so many good things from Goodwill it's even more disappointing. Not to mention, they're the only thrift shop in my area unless I want to drive 40 minutes to Orlando >.<

    1. That's unfortunate! There's a bill going through The House to close that labor loophole. I'm hoping it will be passed. Write your representative!

  3. This is so disheartening. They really aren't living up to their name are they? 'Goodwill'...that's a sad bit of irony isn't it

  4. ...First rethinking about the Salvation Army and GOODWILL, are you freaking KIDDING me? I can't believe this...From what I know, there aren't any other local thrift stores near me! The only other is...Savers, which I do admit I love deathly...but...Goodwill, too...??

    1. Salvation Army also has a bad rap for doing the same things. Hopefully, the issue will be solved! Most of my closet is from Goodwill.

  5. Replies
    1. I hope the loophole is closed, so this does not continue.


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