Peoria-area Goodwill shoppers and donors can do so knowing that all employees will continue to be paid. That’s according to Don Johnson, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois.
Johnson’s comments come after reports that the Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries — which covers 15 locations in Springfield and Southern Illinois — plans to layoff workers with disabilities in order to offset the cost of Illinois’ rising minimum wage.
WCIA-TV originally broke the story, in which the not-for-profit said it was making changes to the Vocational Rehabilitation Program — even though it collects hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from state contracts, pays no taxes and has a federal waiver that allows it to pay less than the minimum wage to workers with disabilities.
But Johnson said not all Goodwills operate the same.
“That is not us. It’s not our territory,” Johnson said. “We pay our employees. Every year, they qualify for raises — in fact, we start them above the minimum wage line.”
According to Johnson, the Central Illinois branch — which covers East Peoria, Mortion, Pekin and Washington, among other locations — does not have the same employment programs mentioned in the Land of Lincoln story. He said the nearly two dozen employees with disabilities in his branch are not at risk of losing their jobs.