Dedicated Memorial Parents Group
MALINDA’S TRAVELING SALES
CREW PROTECTION ACT
POUNDED BY OUT-OF-STATE COMPANY
When crew managers come into the state, they seldom acquire sales permits for their workers. The state and local police have no idea which crews are in town, where they are staying, who the owners and managers are, or where they will be selling—making follow-up to selling violations, and sometimes crimes, difficult. The kids are worked until they drop and there is no recourse for them because of their sham status as “independent contractors.”
Two more deaths have occurred
Some criminals who were hired on crew have committed crimes against home owners, and the crew managers still roll teams into towns all over the state, putting the kids up in sleazy motels, driving them out to sell, and keeping most of their earnings for themselves.
Senator Jon Erpenbach, his
staff and I worked tirelessly for three years to craft Malinda’s Traveling
Sales Crew Protection Act—SB-251 and get it passed into law to regulate these
crews. If passed,
The SB-251 legislation passed
the Senate unanimously, but due to the lobbying of one out-of-state
door-to-door sales company,
I certainly received a hard and fast education when I learned that for any bill to get to the Committee, Van Roy must approve it. He can make it or break it.
Here is what happened after
the Senate vote.
This bill is not mainly about rape and murder, although its registration process certainly would make it harder for criminals to join crews and work our towns and cities. It is mainly about the labor and civil rights violations of the sales kids. In many respects, Southwestern’s modus operandi is essentially no different from the larger sales crew industry.
Southwestern’s sales people are labeled “independent contractors,” which means they have essentially no protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), just like youth crews from other door-to-door companies. The Southwestern kids are sent to work far from home so it will be harder for them to quit, just like the other crews. They don’t receive their pay until the end of the summer, and withholding pay is a hallmark of the other crews. By the company’s own admission, they work up to 80 hours per week, six days a week, just like the other crews. Kids must also attend mandatory sales meetings on Sundays, just like the other crews.
A young salesman who was
paralyzed from the waist down in a Southwestern-related car-pooling
accident is currently suing the company.
The driver of the car was allegedly exhausted and fell asleep at the
wheel in an attempt to reach a mandatory sales meeting in
On labor issues, alone, the entire traveling door-to-door sales industry needs definition and regulation.
Here is my question: why is Representative Van Roy even listening
to Southwestern? Is it possible
that the lobbyist for the company, which is a member of a multi-billion
dollar-a-year organization--The Direct Selling Association of America--, has
worked some special kind of magic? What
power does Southwestern have here? Why
would Van Roy favor a single out-of-state company’s interests over the welfare
and safety of
The intent of Malinda’s Law is pure and simple. It is a matter of good labor law and public safety and cannot be considered a political issue.
Representative Van Roy, look
straight through Southwestern Co. and toward us, the citizens of
Dedicated Memorial Parents Group