2011 ROC-UNITED CONVENING in COLORSLINES BY RINKU SEN at COLORLINES "I was with the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, of which I am on the board, for their annual membership convening in Chicago. ROC-United is a deeply multiracial organization, reflecting the full range of people working in the industry. The organization focuses on high-end restaurants, where most front-of-the-house workers are white, and most back-of-the-house workers are immigrants. In addition to those folks, it also organizes black workers who are shut out of high-end restaurants altogether and largely relegated to fast food. ROC-United members helped me identify markers of equity and inclusion within organizations, which is key to generating equity and inclusion out in the world. So here are three signs you’re on the right track..."
The National Restaurant Association is hosting their annual 4-day show in Chicago tomorrow through the 21st, boasting about “shaping the future” of the industry. Predictably, a notable sector of the restaurant industry is missing from this 4-day jamboree: the workers. The National Restaurant Association is the lobby for the nation’s Fortune 500 restaurant corporations, responsible for keeping the hourly tipped minimum wage at $2.13/hour for the last 22 years, so the fact that workers aren’t prioritized at the show is not surprising.
The future of the restaurant industry belongs to its 10 million employees, responsible business owner and ethical consumers, not a corporate lobbying group.
ROC United, along with the The Food Chain Workers Alliance and The Welcome Table have amassed almost 100,000 signatures on our petition to tell Congress to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act which would increase the abysmally low $2.13 hourly tipped minimum to a livable wage, giving all restaurant workers the ability to put food on their tables and support their families.
Please sign and share this petition far and wide!
We’ve also started an alternative restaurant association, RAISE (Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards for Employment). We have 100 restaurant members right now, all of which champion fair wages and access to paid sick days, not only as a matter of ethics but because it’s good for business.
Learn more about RAISE here.
The movement to bring fair wages to restaurant workers is gaining momentum – that momentum is felt across the economy as the wage gap continues to increase right along with CEO and corporate salaries.
Join us in fighting for fair wages here.