Governor Paterson Calls for At Least Minimum Wage
 for Disabled Workers

Supports NFB Boycott of Goodwill Industries

New York City (June 20, 2012):David A. Paterson, the fifty-fifth governor of the state of New York and a consultant to the National Federation of the Blind, today praised bipartisan legislation to repeal a provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows workers with disabilities to be paid less than the federal minimum wage.  In a press conferenceheld on the steps of City Hall, the governor praised Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Congressman Timothy Bishop (D-NY) for introducing the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2011(H.R. 3086).  The governor, who can be heard daily on WOR Radio 710, also condemned the industry that has grown by paying workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage.  Flanked by members and officials of the National Federation of the Blind, including its New York affiliate president, Carl Jacobsen, the governor publicly called for participation in the NFB’s boycott of Goodwill Industries International Inc., for Goodwill’s payment of wages as low as $0.22 an hour to workers with disabilities.  The Governor was also joined by New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who will introduce a resolution calling for fair wagesfor workers with disabilities.
In support of fair wages for persons with disabilities, Governor Paterson said, “Entities like the misnamed Goodwill have conned people with disabilities and their families into believing that drudgery for pennies an hour is the best and only work that they can have.  This destroys the souls of these workers while benefitting the executives of these companies to the tune of six-figure salaries.  This system must not be allowed to stand.”
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We appreciate the governor speaking out so publicly and forcefully for the right of workers with disabilities to earn fair wages.  We are pleased and proud that he is a partner in the effort to end this practice.”
About the National Federation of the Blind
With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States.  The NFB improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence.  It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation’s blind.  In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
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