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..."
Our consumer engagement campaign, The Welcome Table, seeks to connect communities concerned with environmental sustainability to the many labor issues facing workers throughout the food system: a truly sustainable food system must include sustainable labor practices. One of the ways we aim to do this is to tell the stories of the incredible people working in the restaurant industry.
The Welcome Table’s latest short film features Nakima, a single mother with two children, both under the age of 18, working in the restaurant industry (and one of the rising breadwinner moms — across the economy, mothers are the sole or primary provider in four in ten households with children under age 18, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center report).
In many ways, Nakima is typical of most mothers who work in the restaurant industry. As we’ve recently documented on our report, The Third Shift, mothers spend an average of 35% of their income on child care — an incredibly unsustainable portion considering that women comprise the majority of the restaurant industry’s lowest paid positions. Our report suggests several policy solutions, but raising the tipped and full minimum wage (through proposals like the current Fair Minimum Wage Act) would immediately translate to increased economic security for mothers and their children.
Watch the rest of The Welcome Table’s short films here.