Hi my name is Luis, I’m 52 years old I was born in Mexico and I’ve lived in the US for 26 years. I have been working in the restaurant industry for 18 years as a busser, line cook, barback, runner, kitchen manager, and I currently work as a prep cook. There were 7 of us working as prep cooks, 2 African-Americans, and the rest Latino. The company fired all of us and replaced us with 2 White workers. In this restaurant, they discriminated against us based on race, but also with our wages. White workers there were earning $4, $5 or $7 more than Latinos and we were more experienced than them. I also see many of my co-workers get injured and go to work sick. We don’t have the option of taking a day off. Either we go to work sick or injured, or we lose our job.
I got involved with ROC-LA to fight for better conditions for myself and my co-workers in restaurants. Latinos and African Americans born in the U.S. are in the middle of the ladder, but as immigrants, we are the very bottom.
I want to work toward a just industry. A just restaurant is where workers have a union. Restaurant workers are forgotten. We don’t have the power and support of unions like janitors and hotel workers, so we need to help each other and turn to small organizations like ROC. Restaurant owners to be educated and to learn how to treat their workers more humanely.
I hope ROC continues to grow that we can get more help.