Moms who want to sell their items and volunteer at consignment events are now facing potential Department of Labor regulations that make it almost impossible for the events to continue.
Sixteen years ago, I was a mom with three young kids who loved cute children's clothes but couldn't afford them. So I pulled out all the furniture and had a children's clothing consignment event in my living room! The events with friends and neighbors at my home became so popular over the years, I have since dedicated my entire career to organizing consignment events to help struggling families, and turned it into a company: Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment Events. Since that time Rhea Lana’s has grown to sixty-six events in twenty-two states! Moms everywhere love getting excellent children's items at an affordable price.
Like organizing a really nice yard or garage sale for a community, consigning moms bring the items they’d like to sell, choose the prices for those items, help set up and host the events, and in return they earn a profit for the items they sell. Those who decide to volunteer by helping to put on the actual event not only make the event a huge success (and cause their own items to sell) but also get to shop early. Today there are thousands of events like mine all over the nation. There are probably one or more consignment event organizers like me serving families in your community. Maybe you have been a shopper or a consigner!
In 2011 I worked with the Arkansas Department of Labor and have a Consent Agreement to continue operating in my home state. But that’s not stopping the U.S. Dept. of Labor from hurting my business.
In January, the U.S. Department of Labor investigated my business and now says that the moms who help me set up and run the event must be my employees. This would hurt moms since the cost of taxes and red tape would cut the mom’s profits and event organizers would probably decline to hold consignment events any more out of fear of government intervention. That would be like requiring Build-a-Bear to consider children who come to their shop employees, or requiring neighborhoods that put on yard sales to consider each household that sells goods an employee--making all of those folks submit employment paperwork, taxes, etc. each time!
What’s worse is that with this new Department of Labor classification, they could feasibly shut down the consignment event in your community this Fall-- just as parents are getting much needed clothes for the school year!
Families across the nation depend on the children's consignment industry for quality clothing and other essentials in this very tough economy. Hardworking parents have the right to use their personal time to participate in Rhea Lana's consignment events without being considered employees. The Department of Labor wishes to change the way Rhea Lana’s operates, and in the process, take away shoppers’ freedom to buy and sell used clothing and sundries at their discretion by making them my employees. Moms and dads have had the freedom to put on and volunteer at consignment events for many, many years. There is no need for the government to regulate a parent’s personal time or the money they otherwise could spend on their kids.
When families decide to help host these events they have an economic stake in the success. They are working for themselves - not the consignment event.
Please sign my petition asking the Department of Labor to keep consigning the way it is for moms everywhere.
- United States Secretary of Labor
- Acting Deputy Administrator, U.S. Department of Labor
Mary Beth Maxwell
Re: Consigning Moms Should Not Be Considered Employees at Children's Consignment Events
I strongly agree that moms should retain the right to use their personal time to work for themselves at children's consignment events! This is an activity that women throughout the nation have depended upon for decades to sell and purchase clothing for their children. They are co-venturing with consignment events - not working for them as employees!
Please acknowledge that this activity is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and give back moms the freedom to provide for their families in this cooperative, socially innovative way!
Rhea Lana Riner started this petition with a single signature, and now has 17,206 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.