Coming on the heels of the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA's) "lobby day" on Capitol Hill, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) announced the formation of Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment (RAISE). While the NRA represents and lobbies on behalf of the interests of some of the country’s largest chain restaurant corporations, RAISE is an alternative restaurant association made up of nearly 100 business owners across the country, advocating for the real needs of the industry, as well as the workers it employs.
Saru Jayaraman, co-director and co-founder of ROC-United, will appear on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" tonight at 10 p.m. EDTto discuss the importance of raising the tipped minimum wage for our country's 10 million restaurant workers.
If you think a tip for a server at your favorite restaurant is a gesture of recognition for good service, you're mistaken.
“People think a tip is extra, to show gratitude for really good service, but it’s really not,” said Daisy Chung, executive director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, an advocacy group for restaurant workers. “Consumers should really know that they’re subsidizing workers’ wages, it’s not on top of it. You’re making up the difference for the fact that someone doesn’t make minimum wage.”
According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, more than 40 million Americans work in jobs where they have no access to paid sick days. In addition to the potential loss of wages and jobs for working families, the lack of paid sick days forces many people to go to work when they are contagious and get co-workers and customers sick and decreases productivity for workers who show up unable to perform to their normal level of ability. More and more cities and states are recognizing the realities of the damage having a workforce without paid sick leave does to workers and to the economy.
The partition that separates diners from the inner workings of the restaurant industry toppled for Saru Jayaraman shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Fekkak Mamdouh, one of the headwaiters of the restaurant housed on the top floor of the World Trade Center, approached Jayaraman seven months after the attacks. His former boss deemed him and his former crew “not experienced enough” to work in his new Times Square restaurant. Jayaraman, a 27-year-old organizer of immigrant women, took up the case to advocate for the displaced workers, organized protests and won—most of the workers were awarded the good jobs their former boss promised.
Do you really eat ethically? Author Saru Jayaraman challenges frequent restaurant-goers with that question in her newly released book, Behind the Kitchen Door. Jayaraman will be at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, from noon to 2 p.m., for a signing and book discussion.
Have reservations for a romantic dinner this Valentine’s Day? You are not alone. Valentine’s Day is the highest-grossing day for the $600 billion restaurant industry. This year, when you eat out on Valentine’s Day, you can share the love with the folks who will be feeding and serving you—and you can tell the world about it.
Sure, you're eating free-range chicken and fruits and veggies sans pesticides in your favorite upscale restaurant, but did you ever consider the working conditions "behind the kitchen door?" Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) just released its 2013 National Diners' Guide that provides information on the wage, benefits and promotion practices of the 150 most popular restaurants in America in nine major cities across the country. Now you won't have to wonder whether your server is sick or if the person preparing your food is being paid a living wage.