Senators Demand Termination of Contract With Restaurant Vendor Following Department of Labor Investigation

Two top Senate Democrats called Tuesday for the U.S. Senate to terminate its contract with the company that runs the dining services there after a Department of Labor investigation found that the company avoided paying employees more than $1 million that they deserved.

“Let’s call it what it is – stealing,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who was joined by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, said in a statement.

Their comments come after the DOL announced it found Restaurant Associates and its subcontractor, Personnel Plus, owed 674 workers $1,008,302 in back taxes that it avoided paying by improperly classifying workers in order to pay them for lower-paying jobs than they actually performed, and requiring employees to work before their scheduled starting times without compensation.

“The actions taken by Restaurant Associates are despicable and their contract should be terminated," Reid said. "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."

The agency also found that Restaurant Associates failed to pay for their employees’ required benefits, and said it is reviewing its findings to determine whether it will seek to prevent the companies from obtaining contracts with the federal government in the future.

“Enforcement of the prevailing wage laws levels the playing field for all contractors and protects the wages of hard-working employees,” said Mark Watson, Regional Administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Northeast. “These contractors’ actions put vulnerable, low-wage workers and their families in jeopardy.”

The Senate Rules Committee is in charge of negotiating contracts with the employers.

Restaurant Associates did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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