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
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.
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