Jonathan Hart

CEO of Goodwill Raked In Almost $730,000 in Salary While Paying Employees with Disabilities Pennies

Change.org’s petition to stop Goodwill Industries from exploiting its employees with disabilities with an 80-year-old law for subminimum wages has gone viral with over 220,000 signatures.


Outed by the petition and an NBC expos five years ago that reported workers’ wages being as little as $0.58 an hour, the $3 billion nonprofit’s company-wide practices have yet to change. Current company reviews on “Greedwill” also reveal their below minimum wage injustices.

Exceeding $400,000 (and in one case up to $1.3M) in individual salary for 23 regional CEOs, according to Omaha World Herald, Goodwill clearly could afford to do better for their employees. The bad publicity and hypocrisy is tearing the company apart.

Regional CEOs have been dropping like flies since 2013 (Omaha, Nevada, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Western Missouri/Eastern Kansas, to name a few), and as of April of this year, international CEO Jim Gibbons, a man with a disability himself who earned almost $730,000, has left the company “to pursue other options.”

Over 200,000 workers with disabilities in the U.S. are still paid subminimum wage. “Disability went from a medical issue which makes it seem as something to be cured before full equality to a civil rights issue,” says Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability.

Change.org’s petition (started by the National Federation of the Blind and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network) is increasing momentum behind changing the law.

The Fair Labor Standards Act currently allows employers, via 14c certificates, to pay those with disabilities rates below federal minimum wage. A push is underway for certificates to be eliminated and a competitive integrative model and community resources to be part of the replacement initiative. Incentives for businesses are also being considered by legislators as a way to break the outdated business practices.

The Southeastern PA branch of Goodwill, whose CEO was fired, has reportedly transitioned its business model to impact the employees of their thrift stores with fairer practices. So perhaps the next appointed international CEO can mandate the regions of the company to do it.

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30 Comments

  1. MaryLou Winter

    Know all knows why I’d rather put things in my front yard FREE rather than the Goodwill, Salvation Army, United Way, Someone usually pockets most of the money. The rich get richer

  2. Goodwill is to high on there stuff I work there and don’t pay a worker enough to do what they want u to do so I don’t take nothin to Goodwill they go thur the stuff before they put it out so if they want it

  3. Brenda Prodoehl

    I worked for Goodwill for 4 years in MN. I have only good things to say about them. Wages are very good, benefits are awesome and I loved my job as a full time processor. Yes the donated items sometimes were marked up, but nothing too out of this world. Our Goodwill had many disabled employees. They were all treated with the upmost respect and they were a delight to work with. They took such pride everyday in their jobs. Yes the CEO’s probably made lots of money off the donated goods at each store, but the business helped sooo many people with so many different needs that all the employees at my store just were happy with making an honest wage and making so many wonderful friendships with everyone including all the donates.

  4. The Goodwill is a for Profit organization/company But so are so many others just look at what all the CEO’s make for the nonprofit companies the majority of them are paid very high very little of the money Goes back into the Community Yes and the football players and the baseball players in soccer players and so on and so forth do earn too much money you can’t even afford to go to a game the price of a ticket is so high also the owners of their companies Rake in way too much money , It’s like the saying goes the rich get richer the poor get poor and then those in between just try to live and it’s getting harder to find the difference between the rich and the poor there is very few in between anymore

  5. I was blessed with assistance and retraining in several areas of my life after losing my nursing career to a car accident that caused major physical limitations and a traumatic brain injury.
    They are the reason i can live independently again.
    I do, however, agree on the merchandise pricing. They are a thrift store not an antique store and need to have price points to suit their business.
    I will continue to shop there because I know their money is used for many great programs in my community.

  6. Linda H Wood

    I always gave to Salvation Army until my sister said Goodwill trained people so that they could move up in life and get jobs. Some of their prices are too high for the needy. I did not know that it trained people with disabilities so that they could work. Their basic needs are already taken care of by their disability income. I can see, depending on the disability a person has, how it could be more valuable to some than the actual money they earn. It would help their self esteem. They would have the feeling that they are able to contribute to an endeavor that is helping people get affordable clothes. They would benefit from more contact and interaction with people. I am torn on this one. I always liked Salvation Army. My parents supported Salvation Army. Would like to hear from people who have trained with Goodwill and moved on to other work and moved upward. Would like to hear from people who have worked for and in Salvation Army.

    • I volunteered most of my life in the salvation army. Unfortunately a lot of the good we do is based on what local areas permit us to do and how much they help us in doing it. Usually we dont need financial backing and that we do get we return to the community. We dont get government assistance (to an extent, we have so.much we get to give to pay light Bill’s and such but not a lot)we count on private donations. Some areas have worked a hard and really built up support in the community to do some wonderful things. For example, in charlotte we have a work release program with our thrift stores that allow prisoners leaving prison and those in halfway houses a job at our thrift store. They take on various tasks and have pretty strict oversight. Most salvation armys do at least have a community service program set up but what Charlotte does is the most extensive. As long as they are doing good and not fleecing anyone, I’m glad for whatever they can do to impact a community.

  7. Bonnie volovar

    I shop at Goodwill but will not donate anything or ” round up” because of the paltry wages they pay their employees. They charge. Too much for donated items. The CEO’s clean up. Goodwill for who?

  8. Kathleen Marion

    The CEO of the Goodwill name is Jim Gibbons, he is totally blind and gets a state stipend which the person who created this erroneous garbage has included in his compensation as CEO. They have also included his vacation and sick time as monetary compensation along with special adaptive needs for his disability required by the America’s with disabilities act which every employer with a disabled employee is required to provide and is not considered compensation. However with a total income for Goodwill industries at $56,975,497 they are well within their 25% administrative costs including his compensation at that level. The main sources of income are donations through United Way and other financial donations. Additionally, the goal of Goodwill is to train disabled people to gain marketable skills to get jobs. The thrift store provides opportunities to learn several aspects of business for disabled people from organization, repair, handling money, etc. Goodwill pays their thrift store employees anywhere from $8 to $15 an hour for regular employees. Since the goal of Goodwill is to provide job training many, in the training programs, work in the Goodwill thrift stores while collecting SSI. Under SSI many cannot receive an additional income but can receive some small compensation until they are able to be fully employable. Goodwill trains them in all aspects of store operations including some repair of items.

    • Can’t speak to the CEO issues but can speak to “teaching” marketable skills. The Goodwill Industry donation pick ups are limited to items that are salable ‘as is’. Nominal cleaning, no repairs.

  9. They are greedy & they don’t give back to the community!
    I drop all my donations off at Salvation Army …I don’t donate to goodwill anymore!

  10. Do some research and see where else Goodwills money goes. You’ll be surprised. My husband works for GEI (Goodwill Education Initiatives) a branch of Goodwill – The Excel Center. An adult high school for students aged 17 to any age older, to finish getting their high school diploma (core 40 AND with the possibility of earning dual college credits and certifications like medical coding and billing, higher tech, cna etc) ALL FREE FOR THE STUDENT AND FUNDED BY GOODWILL.

  11. How about firing all the big bosses and pay all the workers minimum wage was $703, 000 I’m pretty sure you could do that

  12. In SC, they duplicate services already provided by state agencies. They should be assisting with other things needed but not available or provided.

  13. Harlan Huff

    What burns me most about Goodwill is, everything is donated for free, but they mark up higher prices on brand name merchandise. The whole point of shopping Goodwill is to get the bargain price regardless of brand or style. Goodwill does not pay extra for name brand items, why should customers have to pay more?

    • Pricing on wares is based on various parameters including appearance (is it soiled? How used is it), functionality, disassembled, whole, brand and popularity. A Bose system might be priced much higher than a Panasonic system of similar wattages. And certainly a new item (still in package) will be priced higher than the same item in used condition.
      Some staff members are not as diligent when it comes to pricing and there is no actual set in stone guidelines that are followed at every location.
      The vast majority of money generated goes back to the community at large. Please feel free and check out all the services offered at your local Goodwill Job Connections office.

  14. I worked in a college kitchen and we had a disabled guy that would come in and scrub pans for 3 hours a day. He might only wash 2 or 3 pans in that time and he only made a couple dollars an hour but the joy he felt that he had a job was priceless. He was on disability and lived in an assisted living facility so all his needs were met. I dont agree with paying people 58 cents an hour and I know that Goodwill does not have good standards but I also dont think that demanding they make minimum wage thus not getting a job at all is the right thing to do either.

  15. They are not running a charity store. They take what people give them and sell it for full profit. To go to the ceo’s.
    .

  16. My mom has worked for Goodwill for nearly 16 years and she said they start folks out at $9.00 per hour and the benefits are good! They give bonuses and raises as they should. They have educational programs as well.

    • Something seems a little….crooked about this….. 😉

    • Goodwill helps ex offenders obtain clothes and supplies necessary to get back to work. They also provide them job training, resume writing, and job referrals. It is a training program not a primary employer. I have personally witnessed the good they do.

  17. I am so disgusted. How could Goodwill do this? 😢

  18. Kathy Holcomb

    I am so done with Goodwill!

  19. Bonnie knight

    When you try to help someone with disabilities while working for Easter seals and you get fired. Helping a client so they don’t get burnt and you get told and fired for supposedly telling the client no you can’t have it. Which is not what happened at all. Either the client would be burnt or choke because he eats to fast. I tried stopping him from getting burnt on a burrito that had just came out of microwave after 5 minute cooking time on high heat. I feel like was railroaded after 9.5 yrs of service.

  20. in South carolina they offer a discount card to veterans and the aged in florida they don’t recognize these cards and don’t give anyone a break on their donated merchandise and are also overpriced on most items neither does habitat for humanity

    • Billie Perdue

      They will now ask you to round up to the dollar on your total to help. Pfft

      • The prices are what piss me off the most. Get it for free and sell it for retail. Bunch of crap. I also knew about the wages for the big bosses that don’t do crap. The employees in my area are paid decent but not good compared to other jobs in the area. I’m sorry I don’t see any job being worth a half million or more a year. Same with the over paid sports players. Salvation army is the only place to donate. they give back in any way they can and the big bosses make around 15 thousand a year and don’t care because it’s about helping others not getting rich.

        • Your donations only give 20% to the people. Administration gets 80%. Salvation army uses 20% admin costs and 80% to the people.

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