WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today called for the termination of the U.S. Senate’s contract with Restaurant Associates following news from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that the company and its subcontractor, Personnel Plus, owe U.S. Senate cafeteria workers more than $1 million in back wages because they misclassified hundreds of workers in the U.S. Capitol, cheating many out of raises they had been promised. The Senators are also renewing their call for greater scrutiny of all Compass Group contacts across the federal government.
“Restaurant Associates reached into the pockets of hardworking Americans and took money workers need to pay bills and put food on the table for their families. Let’s call it what it is – stealing,” said Brown. “The findings of this investigation are alarming and underscore the need to audit all of Compass Group’s contracts across the federal government to ensure all of their employees get the wages they deserve. These findings should be grounds for terminating Restaurant Associates’ contract, and I will work with my colleagues to find an alternative vendor that will uphold federal labor laws and treat its employees fairly.”
“The actions taken by Restaurant Associates are despicable and their contract should be terminated. The Senate must refuse to do business with any unscrupulous vendors who flout the law and put profits above the rights and economic security of their employees. We should take steps immediately to audit this company’s contracts throughout the federal government to ensure that this isn’t happening anywhere else,” said Reid. “Workers deserve fair pay for their work – not greedy employers willing to short-change them and their families. I will join with my colleagues to find a new vendor that will uphold the law and give employees the wages and fair treatment they deserve.”
Brown and Reid, along with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), led the entire Democratic caucus in a letter to DOL Secretary Tom Perez requesting an audit of Compass Group and its subsidiaries in the federal government. The letter built on the Senators’ efforts to ensure fair treatment of workers in the Senate cafeteria and catering services. In August 2015 as the Senate Rules Committee negotiated its contract with Restaurant Associates, the Senators sought better wages for the workers.