Five new complaints alleging violations of the city's living-wage statute have been filed with the Baltimore City Wage Commission against the company that runs concessions at the city Convention Center.
The new complaints accuse Aramark Sports & Entertainment Services of failing to pay the living wage and overtime required by an ordinance for workers hired to work at the facility.
The new complaints occur as a local labor union, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 7, is gearing up for a demonstration today outside the Convention Center to protest "unfair treatment and underpayment" by Aramark and its subcontractors.
The demonstration is scheduled to get under way at 4 p.m. in front of the Convention Center on West Pratt Street.
Larry Ennels, living-wage program compliance officer for the city's wage commission, said the new complaints were under investigation as are three previously filed ones.
Ennels said he was also trying to determine whether Aramark complied with another provision of the 9-year-old city law, one which requires city contractors to periodically file copies of their payrolls with the city. He said he was checking with other city agencies to see if that requirement was met.
Debbie Albert, a spokeswoman for Aramark, said yesterday that it was against company policy to comment on matters that are the subject of a government investigation.
Previously, Aramark officials said that they were in compliance with the first-in-the-nation living-wage statute and that the company paid all of its employees "appropriately."
Nick Weiner, senior analyst with the union, said most of the new complaints are based on allegations that workers were not paid overtime when they worked more than eight hours in a single day.
Other complaints allege that workers were paid $7 an hour though the living wage is set at $8.49 per hour, Weiner said. The wage is set annually and is slated to increase to $8.70 an hour July 1.
Many of the complaining workers were originally hired to work for Aramark at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but then were called in for temporary assignments at the Convention Center. While the living-wage statute does not apply to Camden Yards, it does apply to the Convention Center.
Penalties for violations of the living-wage rule are $50 per day per employee underpaid.