Legislation Introduced by Councilmembers Navarro and Elrich Provides Necessary Enforcement Power
ROCKVILLE, Md., June 17, 2016—Today the Montgomery County Office of Procurement announced the recovery of $300,070 in unpaid wages for 318 individuals employed by five different service contractors engaged in contracts with the County. Last year Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who serves as chair of the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and Councilmember Marc Elrich, who serves as chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, introduced Bill 43-15 to enhance enforcement of the County’s Wage Requirements Law, which is also known as the “living wage” law.
The County Council unanimously enacted the living wage 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 Nancy 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.”
“In 2002, the Council passed a living wage bill with the clear intent to provide employees with a living wage,” said Councilmember Elrich. “It is unfortunate that certain unscrupulous business owners managed to subvert the intent of the law, to the detriment of their employees. As amended today, the law now has clear reporting requirements and distinct penalties for not paying employees on County contracts a living wage. 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 has identified the companies, who have since taken corrective action, as Camco; LT Services; Potomac Disposal; Securitas; and Unity.
The current 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:
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