Should be Illegal

Before filing away a note that an employee painstakingly wrote to me, I feel compelled to upload this information to hopefully increase awareness.

These guys build cabinets. There are no windows in the factory. They get a ½ hour lunch and two ten minute breaks in an 8 ½ hour shift. There is dust and varnish fumes in the air. They punch in and punch out every day because they choose labor over welfare. That statement may piss off some people. I don’t care. I’m not an SJW.

These guys aren’t rocket scientists. Some of them have drug addictions. Some barely speak English. They can’t get better jobs, so these factory positions are a win-win for the employee and the manufacturing company. New employees make minimum wage, which is $11/hour here in Washington. (Not bad for min wage, IMHO.)

We’ll call this employee “Bill”. Bill had some traffic violations. He didn’t pay the court. The court, apparently, sold the debt to a collection agent called AllianceOne. The garnishment paperwork states:

Balance of debt:                $693.36

Interest:                               $379.73

Fees:                                     $140.54

Total:                                   $1213.63

On top of the above interest, estimated interest of $0.23 PER DAY accumulates.

That means that the interest this guy is being charged is 55% of the initial debt, and then some more sprinkled on, just ‘cuz they can. The fees are 20% of the debt. And the total that the guy owes is 175% of the initial debt.

Bill said that he called the collection agent and was told that if he gets pulled over, he could be thrown in jail if this isn’t paid. Bill’s been with us for a year, so he makes a whopping $12/hr, and now his paychecks will be garnished. Having seen this before, I know this will most likely be a garnishment that has NO END. At least not while the employee is legally working.

Another employee, we’ll call him “Phil”, found himself in a similar situation years ago. The interest and fees piled up, with interest on top of interest, fees on top of fees, interest on top of fees, and fees on top of interest. New charges were added each time he thought he was done. Phil has probably paid the initial debt five times over by now, and there is no end in sight to the garnishments. These employees don’t have the money to pay the full amount in one shot, so AllianceOne, we’ll call them “The Opportunists”, uses these guys’ mistakes to leech money out of them year after year after year.

Not only is this usury legal, but the courts work with AllianceOne by selling the unpaid judgments, and then processing the Writs of Garnishment for them. I get it that people ought to pay their fines, but I find these court-sanctioned loan shark rates disturbing.