March 22, 2016

Warner, Kaine Support Labor Dept. Audit Of Federal Cafeteria Contractor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined the entire Senate Democratic Caucus in urging U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to audit Compass Group and its subsidiaries across the federal government to ensure that Compass Group is paying its workers the wages they have earned and properly classifying them based on their job duties.

Today’s letter to Secretary Perez – signed by Sen. Warner, Sen. Kaine, and all 44 of their colleagues in the Democratic caucus – follows reports that Restaurant Associates, a Compass Group subsidiary, misclassified dozens of workers in the U.S. Capitol, cheating many out of raises they had been promised.

“The seriousness of these complaints leads us to question if Compass Group has committed labor law violations at other federal cafeteria facilities,” said the Senators in the letter. “We know you share our view that worker misclassification and underpayment are serious violations of federal labor law with significant consequences for the affected employees. We cannot tolerate any violations by Compass Group or any other federal contractor.”

The letter builds on the Senators’ earlier efforts to ensure fair treatment and better wages for workers in the Senate cafeteria and catering services.

The full text of the letter is below. A PDF of the signed letter is available here

The Honorable Tom Perez
Secretary
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Secretary Perez:

We write to express our deep concern about serious allegations of worker misclassification and wage violations among federal food-service contract employees in the United States Capitol.  We understand that the Department of Labor (DOL) Baltimore Regional Office has opened an investigation into these allegations, and we appreciate your responsiveness.  We are concerned, however, that such alleged practices may extend throughout other contracts operated by Compass Group and its subsidiaries.  Given the serious nature of these potential labor law violations, we ask the DOL to audit all of Compass Group’s federal cafeteria services contracts.

As you may be aware, many hourly wage employees of Compass Group subsidiary Restaurant Associates (RA) working under food-service contracts with the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) recently received wage increases as part of contract renewals between RA and AOC.  In many instances, these wage increases were accompanied by new job titles, and it now appears that RA has misclassified some of these workers and subsequently denied them the full measure of the wage increases they deserved.

The seriousness of these complaints leads us to question if Compass Group has committed labor law violations at other federal cafeteria facilities.  A DOL-conducted audit of federal cafeteria services contracts with Compass Group and its subsidiaries will help establish whether there is a pattern of behavior by the company.  This information will be particularly useful as we consider how to respond to the accusations of misclassification and underpayment of workers in the United States Capitol complex.  

We know you share our view that worker misclassification and underpayment are serious violations of federal labor law with significant consequences for the affected employees.  We cannot tolerate any violations by Compass Group or any other federal contractor.  We urge you to conduct this audit of Compass Group to help us ensure that the company is complying with federal labor law and paying its workers the wages they deserve.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and your commitment to American workers.

Sincerely,

United States Senator Sherrod Brown

United States Senator Harry Reid

United States Senator Chuck Schumer

United States Senator Tammy Baldwin

United States Senator Michael F. Bennet

United States Senator Richard Blumenthal

United States Senator Cory Booker

United States Senator Barbara Boxer

United States Senator Maria Cantwell

United States Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

United States Senator Tom Carper

United States Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator Christopher A. Coons

United States Senator Joe Donnelly

United States Senator Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator Al Franken

United States Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senator Martin Heinrich

United States Senator Heidi Heitkamp

United States Senator Mazie K. Hirono

United States Senator Tim Kaine

United States Senator Angus S. King, Jr.

United States Senator Amy Klobuchar

United States Senator Patrick J. Leahy

United States Senator Joe Manchin III

United States Senator Edward J. Markey

United States Senator Claire McCaskill

United States Senator Robert Menendez

United States Senator Jeff Merkley

United States Senator Barbara A. Mikulski

United States Senator Christopher Murphy

United States Senator Patty Murray

United States Senator Bill Nelson

United States Senator Gary C. Peters

United States Senator Jack Reed

United States Senator Bernard Sanders

United States Senator Brian Schatz

United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senator Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator Jon Tester

United States Senator Tom Udall

United States Senator Mark R. Warner

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren

United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

United States Senator Ron Wyden

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