Wednesday, January 20, 2016

'unavoidable,' says Keiko Nakamura - Update

Former Goodwill employees worried sick about how they’ll pay their bills received a message from the CEO on Wednesday that was short on goodwill. Hours after dozens of them gathered outside the charitable organization’s warehouse in Scarborough, they finally got an answer to the question on all their minds: Will they get paid Friday for the work they put in prior to the charity shuttering 16 stores and 10 donation centres in Ontario?

“To update the more than 430 people affected by the closures, despite our best efforts, employees will not be paid on Friday as part of the regular pay cycle,” CEO Keiko Nakamura said in a brief statement. Moe Rutherford, a business representative with the Canadian Airport Workers Union (CAWU) and former Goodwill trucker, said most of the employees were earning “barely minimum wage.”

Due to a number of factors affecting the retail environment, Goodwill is facing a cash flow crisis. 430 Goodwill employees have lost their jobs.
For more than 80 years, Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario has had a mission to enable work opportunities and provide skills development for people facing barriers to employment, including persons with disabilities, youth and the chronically unemployed. Goodwill stores and programs have supported many individuals and communities in the region.

As a result, 16 stores, 10 donation centres and 2 offices in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia and Brockville are closed effective today.

Keiko Nakamura, CEO of Goodwill Industries made $221,774.29 in 2014 plus $ 8,764.20 in taxable benefits. $137,532.99 was paid to David Chu, Vice President Business Services.

This is not the first time Keiko Nakamura has drawn attention. In 2011 she was ousted as CEO of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation after a scathing audit flung the housing authority into turmoil.

Auditor-General Jeffrey Griffiths’ probe of the cash-strapped organization’s books revealed staff spent tax dollars on inappropriate expenses, such as a boat cruise for staff training and a planning meeting at the spa, and didn’t follow purchasing rules.

While tenants lived in squalid conditions and security concerns fell on deaf ears, the top brass at Toronto’s housing authority helped themselves to more than $2 million in cash kiss-offs and bonuses, the Toronto Sun reported.

Keiko Nakamura