July 26, 2021 News & Press Releases

New Reporting Highlights Glenn Youngkin’s Track Record Taking Advantage of Workers with Disabilities

by Democratic Party of Virginia

A “rip-roaring economy” for Glenn Youngkin means paying its workers 11 cents per hour

Richmond, VA — Each day that Glenn Youngkin spends hiding from debating Terry McAuliffe and running away from reporters is a day Virginians learn more about who he is -- and the results aren’t pretty. Today, new reporting highlights how Youngkin’s abysmal track record includes taking advantage of workers with disabilities. In one instance, under Glenn’s so-called leadership, a disabled employee was paid 11 cents an hour. 

This news comes on the heels of a damning Associated Press report on Youngkin’s record as an American job killer. See below for key excerpts and read the full report here.

The American Independent: Virginia governor candidate connected to firm that paid disabled worker 11 cents an hour
By Josh Israel

A company owned by the investment firm that Virginia's Republican gubernatorial nominee once led took advantage of a minimum wage loophole to pay employees with disabilities less than the minimum wage. At least one employee was paid just 11 cents an hour.

Glenn Youngkin is running for governor on a promise of creating jobs in Virginia, based on his long tenure at the helm of the Carlyle Group and the claim that he'd be a job creator in the mold of former President Donald Trump. When Trump, who has endorsed Youngkin, left office after one term, the United States had seen a net loss of 3 million jobs compared to when he took office.

According to a 2009 report published in the Des Moines Register, a Nebraska-based company owned by the Carlyle Group paid an Iowa worker with a disability just pennies per hour for work packaging, labeling, and sealing its goods.
Oriental Training Co., purchased by Carlyle in 2006, was a "direct marketer of party supplies, novelties, toys and children's arts and crafts, and leading marketer of school supplies and value-priced home décor and giftware." Carlyle owned the company until it declared bankruptcy in 2010 and was eventually bought by Berkshire Hathaway.

A spokesperson for Iowa's Department of Human Services told the Register that the Oriental Training Co. paid the worker on a "piece-rate basis," rather than on the basis of how many hours were worked, thus resulting in an average salary of 11 cents per hour.

A disability rights advocate told the outlet that the arrangement did not respect the worker's full potential. "Eleven cents an hour does seem low," Sylvia Piper of Iowa Protection and Advocacy said. "Is there something else, some other job, these people could do that would be of greater value to them and to the employer?"

Youngkin was a key executive at the firm at the time, serving as global head of its industrial sector investment team.

At a campaign event in February, he promised voters that he would completely stand by his corporate record. "I will own everything that happened at Carlyle, because I was there," he pledged. "I will never walk away from anything I did in my business career." [...]

[Youngkin] has previously indicated a hostility to Virginia's living wage law existing for anyone.

"We know for a fact that when you impose a $15 minimum wage broadly across Virginia, we are going to lose jobs," he told a local television station in June. "We must get our economy open, we have to carve back the mounds of red tape that have been piled on businesses. And I believe our small businesses and entrepreneurialism in Virginia has been absolutely crushed."

McAuliffe has backed a $15 minimum wage and has a record of working to protect Virginians with disabilities.

During his previous term as governor, he issued a series of executive orders in 2015, still in place today, guaranteeing equal employment opportunities for disabled Virginians. He also worked to expand accessibility at the governor's mansion, increase state services for disabled Virginians, and invest more in education for children with disabilities.

In an emailed statement on Monday, Democratic Party of Virginia spokesperson Manuel Bonder pointed out the candidates' differing records.

“Glenn Youngkin will always put himself first, no matter the cost. Youngkin's track record of harming people with disabilities in order to turn a profit is appalling — and it is yet another reminder that he belongs nowhere near the governorship," Bonder wrote. "As governor, Terry McAuliffe fought to protect and uplift Virginians with disabilities — and he will do so again."