Feds: Senate cafeteria workers will get $1M back pay

Associated Press

Washington — Hundreds of cafeteria workers who help feed senators and others in the Capitol and nearby office buildings will get back pay totaling more than $1 million because their private employers illegally underpaid them, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division said it is reviewing whether the two private companies — Restaurant Associates and its subcontractor, Personnel Plus — should be barred from future government contracts.

“Workers in the restaurant industry are among the lowest-paid workers in our economy,” David Weil, the division’s administrator, said in a written statement. “Most struggle to afford life’s basic expenses and pay their bills. They shouldn’t have to deal with paychecks that don’t accurately reflect their hard work.”

The division said the contractors were classifying Senate cafeteria workers for lower-paid jobs than they should have and forced them to report to work before their scheduled start times, without pay. It said they were not paying required health and welfare benefits, paying proper overtime or keeping complete records.

The division said that overall, 674 workers will divide $1,008,302 in back wages.

Officials at Restaurant Associates did not immediately return telephone and email messages seeking comment.