It’s important, as a sales professional, you stop the exploitation of others who enter our career.
For over 30 years, traveling sales crews of young adults are recruited into magazine sales jobs with promises of making money, but essentially are held in an environment equivalent to that of an indentured servant or share cropper.
I met two young women at my house who told me this story. They are both salespeople recruited from the inner city to work on these sales crews. These women, 19 and 21, are both employed by a company called Chapel Sales.
These salespeople are required to work 80+ hour days, often doing door to door sales in dangerous urban areas. The company holds their earnings in an account for them, and if they leave, their earnings are in jeopardy. Their day starts at 8:30 AM, and they work until 9:00 PM. If they don’t meet quota, they have to go to another meeting at 11:00 PM.
One of the workers told me that she was denied money for food, because she didn’t sell, and had to watch others in her group eat. That same salesperson was also the victim of a robbery while selling in an inner-city apartment building.
I’ve done some research, and found that these kids are often the victims of crime, and many of them have been raped, robbed, murdered, or killed in automobile related fatalities.
In the past, if local authorities got wind of this activity, they would simply move these crews to another state. The salespeople are classified as independent contractors largely for the purpose of bypassing labor laws.
I spoke at length with Phil Ellenbacker, webmaster of www.travelingsalescrews.info Phil’s daughter was one of 7 children killed in a van driven by one of these work crews. Phil told me that the driver was driving on a suspended license.
How can you help?
The New York times did an expose’ of magazine sales crews, and their practices.
Parent Watch is a clearinghouse for information on child and youth labor abuse in the traveling door-to-door sales crew industry. Traveling Sales Crew Info is another site.
Sign the petition:
As members of a faith community, we have a unique ability to pressure the Magazine Publishers Association and the Federal Government to give the same basic working conditions for sales crews as we expect for ourselves and our families. Please sign the petition at the link below.http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Protect_Crews/
Spread the word
Pass this email onto your faith community, and the faith community of your friends. It’s only by spreading the word that we will get the number of people needed to generate enough attention to this issue. Be ready to act
Magazine publishers receive between 2 & 3 percent of their revenues from traveling sales crews. If our recommendations are not accepted, it may be necessary to place financial pressure on the industry to meet our demands. This may require a magazine subscription boycott.
If you are approached by a member of a traveling sales crew, do not support them by purchasing a subscription. The best thing that you can do is refer them to an organization like Parent Watch. Thank you in advance for your support.Paul Misner