Centerplate, Levi’s Stadium food service provider, is being sued for wage theft by Investigative Fund journalist, Gabriel Thompson, who did an undercover story for Slate.com about Centerplate working conditions before and during Super Bowl 50.
The suit charges that Centerplate employees weren’t paid double time for work beyond 12 hours in a day, weren’t given rest breaks, even on 12 hour shifts, and weren’t paid at all for travel time. If employers require workers to travel in company vehicles, California law requires the employees to be paid from the time they’re told to arrive at the departure point until they return to it. Centerplate also failed to pay employees all wages due on their final day of work, charges the suit.
Centerplate and its executives – Chris Verros, Jeff Tandberg, Adrian Sishington, Chris Verros, Hadi K. Manovar and Kevin McNamara – are named in the suit.
In his report on his Super Bowl experience, Thompson describes a 17-hour day that began at 7 a.m. with an hour wait for the chartered shuttle bus to Levi’s Stadium. Workers weren’t clocked in until after they arrived at the stadium, about half an hour later.
Twelve break-less hours later, Centerplate employees clocked out and waited hours for shuttle buses; thousands crammed into a parking lot “so closely that sitting down is impossible,” Thompson wrote. At 11 p.m. Santa Clara police called VTA, which sent buses to get the exhausted workers back to their cars, according to a Mercury News report.
Levi’s Stadium paid its direct employees for their travel time.
The case, 16CV291643, was filed in Santa Clara Superior Court and is scheduled for a hearing June 14, 2016.
Journalist Fights Wage Theft While Activists are MIA
In his fight for justice for Centerplate employees, Gabriel Thompson doesn’t appear to have gotten any help from Santa Clara County’s wage theft activists – the Wage Theft Coalition; Santa Clara’s representative on the Board of Supervisors, Ken Yeager; Attorney Ruth Silver Taub; and the South Bay Labor Council.
All have been silent about Thompson’s charges. The WTC’s most recent press release is from January 2015 about a demonstration against Crazy Buffet in Sunnyvale. The SBLC’s most recent news is from May 2015.
Both groups, however, have been lobbying Santa Clara Unified for a complex anti-wage theft policy. No evidence has been presented that wage theft in SCUSD contracts is a problem that current policy doesn’t address. Nonetheless, hours over the course of at least three meetings, and thousands for legal counsel, have been expended on the subject.
Trustee Christopher Stampolis is a leading proponent for the new policy. Local 270 of the Laborers International – which has been Stampolis’ consulting client – is a member of the Wage Theft Coalition.