• Press

STATEMENT
For Immediate Release: September 2, 2014
Contact: Maria Myotte, maria [at] rocunited [dot] org, 212-243-6900

As Fast Food Workers Prepare to Strike, Restaurant Worker Advocate Calls Out Corporate Lobbyist for Perpetuating Poverty

The following is a statement from Saru Jayaraman, Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United co-founder & co-director, on this week’s planned fast food strikes:

“This Thursday, as fast food workers across the country strike and participate in acts of civil disobedience to demand higher wages from McDonald’s, Burger King, and other corporate restaurant giants, it’s crucial that we pay attention to the force keeping so many workers, including fast food employees, in poverty: the National Restaurant Association, or “the Other NRA.” It is the largest private employer lobby in the country, of which McDonald’s, Burger King, and virtually all Fortune 500 restaurant companies are members.

“The Other NRA and its corporate members spend millions lobbying against minimum-wage increases and fair labor standards for the country’s more than 10 million restaurant workers. Despite the industry’s five solid years of record-breaking profits and growth — it expects a $24 billion increase in profits in 2014 alone — nearly half of all restaurant workers live in or near poverty.

“Perhaps the clearest indication of the Other NRA’s undue influence on our political system is the existence of a two-tiered wage system, by which employers get away with not paying their employees the regular minimum wage, and instead force customers to pay the bulk of their worker’s wages, which are further subsidized by taxpayers through public support programs as servers are twice as likely than the general workforce to need food stamps.

“While it would be a resounding and overdue victory for McDonald’s to raise wages for their workforce, we must keep an eye on the Other NRA and expose their corporate agenda in order to bring fair wages and just labor standards to the more than ten million people employed by the restaurant industry.”

Find the most comprehensive report to date on the National Restaurant Association “The Other NRA: Unmasking the Agenda of the National Restaurant Association” at:http://rocunited.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/TheOtherNRA_Report_2014.pdf

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Co-founded by labor-rights leader Saru Jayaraman (“One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News) ROC United has grown to over 13,000 members across 26 cities in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $8 million in stolen tips and wages.