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Montgomery County recovers unpaid wages for 318 employees whose companies did not comply with County 'Living Wage' law

For Immediate Release: Friday, June 17, 2016

Montgomery County recovers unpaid wages for

318 employees of County contractors  

Legislation introduced by Councilmembers Navarro and Elrich

provided power to enforce County’s ‘Living Wage’ law

 

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 17, 2016—The Montgomery County Office of Procurement today announced the recovery of $300,070 in unpaid wages for 318 individuals employed by five different service contractors engaged in contracts with the County. The ability to enforce the County’s “Living Wage” law was provided by Bill 43-15, which was introduced by Councilmember Nancy Navarro, chair of the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee, and Councilmember Marc Elrich, chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee.  

 

The County Council unanimously enacted the living wage enforcement legislation, which took effect on May 10, 2016. Cherri Branson, director of the County’s Office of Procurement, credited the law with giving her office the additional “enforcement power” needed to take this unprecedented action.

 

“It is unconscionable that this type of illegal behavior, which is harmful to our most vulnerable workers, went on for so long,” said Councilmember Navarro. “I am pleased that the County Council took the necessary steps to ensure that our Office of Procurement has the tools and resources required to enforce the law. We must make sure that all of our workers are paid the County’s living wage.”

 

Councilmember Elrich said: “In 2002, the Council passed a living wage bill with the clear intent to provide employees with a living wage. It is unfortunate that certain unscrupulous business owners managed to subvert the intent of the law, to the detriment of their employees. The law now has clear reporting requirements and distinct penalties for not paying a living wage to employees on County contracts. I am proud to stand with Councilmember Navarro and my colleagues in sending this clear message that the County will protect contractor employees’ right to earn a living wage.”

 

The Office of Procurement identified the companies not complying with the law as Camco; LT Services; Potomac Disposal; Securitas; and Unity. The companies have taken corrective action since being identified as being in violation.

 

The current County living wage rate is $14.35 per hour for Fiscal Year 2016. Starting July 1, 2016, the rate will increase to $14.40 per hour for Fiscal Year 2017.

 

Enacted Bill 43-15 can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/hgcsnv4 .

 

# # # # Release ID: 16-194
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939 , Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931