Organization says Goodwill has lost its "good"

The National Federation of the Blind organized protests statewide against Goodwill International Saturday.

The NFB says Goodwill is not paying their employees with disabilities enough per hour.

Parnell Diggs leads the Horry County chapter for the NFB and he says, "some of the materials we received from Goodwill International reveals that some of their disabled workers are being paid as little as 22 cents an hour."

According to section 14-(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, companies can receive special certificates saying they are allowed to offer any wage less than minimum wage to workers who have disabilities.

Diggs is blind and says that because of his disability, he's not guaranteed the federal minimum wage of $7.25. He says, "we've got to change that."

House bill 3086 has been introduced to do exactly that.

It would stop the government from being able to issue the special wage certificates. Over a three year time period it would also recall all of the certificates already in order.

Goodwill employs over 400 people with disabilities in South Carolina.

"Our employees are why we are in business," says Tina Marshall, VP of Corporate Relations for Goodwill. "Our mission is to help people achieve their full potential through the dignity of power and work."

Diggs says individuals with disabilities cannot achieve that dignity until they are paid they same wages.

"The average blind person could do the average job as well as the average sighted person," adds Diggs. "But they've got to be given the training and opportunity."