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"How am I gonna live?"

Goodwill workers banking on Friday paycheque won't get one
goodwill bryne drive
The Goodwill store on Bryne Drive closed on Sunday along with the other outlet on Bayfield Street. Sue Sgambati/BarrieToday

Like so many workers who have lost their jobs, Barrie Goodwill employee "Carol" is experiencing the many stages of sudden unemployment.

"Shock. Complete utter shock," said Carol, a 7-year employee of the Goodwill outlet on Bryne Drive. 

Her reaction to the abrupt closing of the store along with the Bayfield location and 14 others in the GTA reflects the emotions of her co-workers.

"Angry. Confused,"  said Carol, a name she asked us to use to protect future job opportunities. 

And then there's fear.

"How am I gonna live?" she told BarrieToday.

Carol and about 430 colleagues suffered another blow last night when Goodwill CEO Keiko Nakamura issued a statement saying workers won't get paid tomorrow.

"Despite our best efforts, employees will not be paid on Friday as part of the regular pay cycle," said Nakamura.  "However, Goodwill will be in a position to update all employees about the date of payroll deposits and the issuance of records of employments on Monday January 25, 2016."

Workers were banking on that paycheque after the company suddenly and without warning shuttered 16 stores and 10 donations centres on Sunday citing a "cash flow crisis."

Yesterday at a news conference in Toronto, angry Goodwill workers called for Nakamura to resign amid chants of "Keiko must go" and "we want our jobs back."

It's a sentiment Carol says Barrie workers share.

"Keiko needs to resign," she said.

A lawyer representing the workers' union says Goodwill employees are in "legal limbo" because they have not been officially terminated, so they can't apply for Employment Insurance nor do they have a severance package. 

The Canadian Airport Workers Union, which represents the Goodwill workers, said it has put Nakamura in touch with a new investor interested in rescuing the charity, but there is no word on whether the company will cooperate.

"We are united and we are strong," said Carol of the workers' mission to save an 80-year-old community institution they say offers employment and pride to many who otherwise wouldn't get jobs.

Carol wonders how a CEO can make hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary while stores shut down and most Goodwill jobs are minimum wage. 

She repeated statements by co-workers at the Toronto news conference questioning how Goodwill can't make money when items are donated for free and then sold.

CEO Nakamura has asked for patience but Carol says that's cold comfort for worried employees who are also experiencing yet another emotion associated with job loss - grief.

"It's just sad."

Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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