ROC’s Co-Founder and Co-Director, Saru Jayaraman was recently the subject of a fascinating profile piece for Bloomberg Businessweek. In it, Saru relays ROC’s origins in the aftermath of the September 11th attack on New York City. The surviving employees of the Windows of the World restaurant—which once sat atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center—were being denied positions at a new restaurant owned by the company that once managed Windows.
Appalled by the situation, Saru helped to organize those workers. They won. From the tragic events of that fateful day, a movement for fair wages and workplace conditions for America’s restaurant workers was born:
“The group went national in 2008. Now with 25,000 members, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has proved to be one of the most successful experiments in advocating for low-wage workers in the absence of a traditional union. ROC members don’t collectively bargain with restaurants—but they’ve successfully lobbied for laws resulting in higher pay. And through offensives blending lawsuits, demonstrations, and media stunts, they’ve won settlements requiring companies to offer grievance procedures, paid sick days, and other protections. As ‘alt-labor’ groups have proliferated, ROC has provided a template to follow”
We at ROC are proud of our history and optimistic for the future of our movement. But as with our past and present, the future of this movement hinges on your continued commitment and support. A donation of just $20 will strengthen the movement for One Fair Wage, the Sanctuary Restaurants movement, our lawsuit against the Trump Administration, and more.