FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 16, 2023
Employees of Rockwood Music Hall, located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, are suing the venue’s owner, Kenneth Rockwood, for unpaid wages. The workers state in their complaint that on payday they were often left empty-handed. Mr. Rockwood often paid them only a portion of their wages or nothing at all.
Rockwood Music Hall, a well-known venue, has featured performances by many artists, including Sara Bareilles, Sting, Norah Jones, Lady Gaga. The workers, porters who have worked at the performance space since 2011, state that the problem began in 2022, several months before Rockwood Music Hall’s corporate entity, Kenrock Enterprises, filed for bankruptcy and a #PreserveRockwood fundraising campaign was launched. By then, Mr. Rockwood already owed the workers a significant amount of money for unpaid wages and for years of unpaid overtime. Yet, Mr. Rockwood did not identify the workers as creditors in bankruptcy filings and did not direct any of the fundraising proceeds toward making them whole.
Meanwhile, in May 2023, Mr. Rockwood opened a new venue, also named Rockwood Music Hall, which is located in Boston.
“It affects us at the end of every week. We need the money to pay gas, electricity, and especially the rent. We cannot plan for anything,” said Roman Moreno Martinez.
“When I found out that he had money to open a new club in Boston but not to pay the workers, it offended me. It showed a lack of respect. It wasn’t right,” added Felipe Vargas.
“After the workers came to our office with concerns about their unpaid wages, they realized that Mr. Rockwood had also failed to pay them overtime premiums, despite the fact that they nearly always worked over 40 hours per week,” said Alice Davis, their attorney.
The lawsuit, Moreno Martinez, et al. v. Rockwood, S.D.N.Y. (23-cv-10058) was filed November 15, 2023, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit alleges multiple violations under the Federal Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law.
The lawsuit was filed on the workers’ behalf by attorneys at Catholic Migration Services. The Workers’ Rights Program offers advice and representation to low-wage workers on issues such as wage theft and workplace discrimination.
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About Catholic Migration Services: For over 50 years, Catholic Migration Services, a not-for-profit legal services provider affiliated with Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, has been providing quality legal services to low-income individuals in New York City in the areas of immigration, housing, and employment. For more information, please visit www.catholicmigration.org and connect with us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram @CMSBQ.