Goodwill employees who won't get paid this week call for CEO's resignation

Goodwill Toronto's CEO says the 430 workers who have been off the job since the charity abruptly closed 16 stores last weekend will not get paid on Friday like they were supposed to.

Workers left jobless after sudden shutdown of 16 charity stores in Ontario

Call for CEO's resignation after workers left jobless after sudden shutdown of 16 charity stores in Ontario 1:55
Goodwill Toronto's CEO says the 430 workers who have been off the job since the charity abruptly closed 16 stores last weekend will not get paid on Friday as they were supposed to. 
"I don't know how I'm going to pay my rent, my bills, buy groceries," said out of work Goodwill employee Veronica Brooks. (CBC)

Keiko Nakamura, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario, broke the bad news in a statement released on Wednesday night, hours after workers staged demonstrations calling for her resignation. 

"Despite our best efforts, employees will not be paid on Friday as part of the regular pay cycle," Nakamura said in her statement.

She added the company will update all employees about payment next Monday.

Goodwill was forced to close its stores and facilities in Toronto, Mississauga, Brockville and Barrie due to a "cash-flow crisis," Nakamura said earlier this week. 

Bags of donations piled up at the Goodwill drop-off centre in downtown Toronto after the charity abruptly closed its operations across much of Ontario. (Cheryl Krawchuk/CBC)
Goodwill employees chanted "Keiko must go," during a protest in Scarborough.

Workers told reporters their medical benefits have been cut off during the indefinite closure. 

"I already worked for that money," said Raphelia Debique, who has worked sorting donations for nine years.

Debique called on Nakamura to speak directly to employees. "Give us an answer," she said. "Say something to us, that's all we're asking."

"I don't know how I'm going to pay my rent, my bills, buy groceries," said Veronica Brooks, who has worked at a Goodwill store for eight years. "Who's going to help us?" 

Nakamura has not immediately commented on the call for her to resign.

Workers were 'shut out,' union says 

Officials from the Canadian Airport Workers Union, which represents 450 Goodwill employees, said management failed to give them legally required notice of the layoffs. 

"Our members live from paycheque to paycheque and without fair warning were shut out," said the union's business representative Moe Rutherford. 

At a news conference Monday, Nakamura said Goodwill sees a decline in donations and sales between December and March each year.

Union officials dispute the significance of the drop-off in donations. 

"There's great community support," said Rutherford, adding that management "ignored" suggestions from front-line staff  about how to improve operations.  
Keiko Nakamura, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario, said workers won't get paid on Friday as they were supposed to. (CBC)

Nakamura's salary from Goodwill was $221,774 in 2014. It was reported on Ontario's annual "Sunshine List" because provincial law requires all agencies that receive government funding to report the earnings of everyone paid more than $100,000. 

Nakamura was fired as Toronto Community Housing CEO in 2011, following a city auditor's report that questioned staff spending and how the agency issued tenders for contracts.

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