ABOUT US

OUR MISSION

The mission of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United is to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce.

We are thousands of people who work in restaurants, over 750 high-road employers, and thousands of engaged consumers united for raising restaurant industry standards.

OUR HISTORY

The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York was initially founded in New York City by Fekkak Mamdouh and Saru Jayaraman after September 11th, 2001 to provide support to people who work in restaurants who were displaced as a result of the World Trade Center tragedy. Based on our successful efforts in New York City, many who worked in restaurants in several other cities approached ROC about initiating chapters in their cities. Thus, in 2008 we launched the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which has grown into a national organization with thousands of members who work in restaurants nationwide.

Since its founding, ROC United has won more than a dozen workplace justice campaigns, winning more than $10 million in misappropriated tips and wages and discrimination payments for people who work in restaurants, and significant policy changes in high-profile restaurant companies covering thousands of people. We have played an instrumental role in winning statewide minimum wage increases for those who work for tips in restaurants, and other policy campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels. ROC also partners with over 750 responsible restaurant owners to promote the ‘high road’ to profitability, has trained more than 5,000 people to advance to livable-wage jobs within the industry, and has published over 30 ground-breaking reports and a nationally bestselling book on the restaurant industry.

OUR TEAM

CO-DIRECTORS & CO-FOUNDERS

Sekou Siby

Sekou Siby

Executive Director

French teacher in his native Africa, Sekou Siby is a founding member of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York ROCNY, nonprofit workers’ center that organizes restaurant workers for improved working conditions in the NYC restaurant industry. 

A former cook at Windows on the World, atop the World Trade Center, Siby joined the ROC-NY staff in 2003 as a Community Organizer. While in this position, he spearheaded at least four campaigns, bringing hundreds of workers to victory against their employers. He has been one of the Co-Executive Directors of ROCNY from January 2008 to May 2012. 

Siby Joined ROC-United in June 2012 and holding the position of Deputy Director. He holds an MBA degree from the University of Phoenix and is the Executive Director of ROC-UNITED since September 2017.

read more
Saru Jayaraman

Saru Jayaraman

President of ROC United & ROC Action, Director of the Food Labor Research Center

President of ROC United & ROC Action (based in Oakland, California), co-founded ROC in New York after 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, which has organized those who work in restaurants to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants.

read more
Fekkak Mamdouh

Fekkak Mamdouh

COLORS/ROC LLC CEO

Fekkak Mamdouh came to the United States from Morocco in 1988 at the age of 27. He worked in New York City restaurants since he arrived, and finally moved to Windows on the World when it reopened in 1996. As a waiter at Windows, Mamdouh was always a staunch worker advocate.

read more

NATIONAL STAFF

Raymond Pettit

Senior Grants Officer

Pete Vargas

High Road Director

Dave Palmer

General Counsel & Managing Director

Ephraim Colbert

High Road Associate

Yamila Ruiz

Legal Organizer

Eva Putzova

Director of Communications

Steven Piasecki

Communications Coordinator

Daniel Kota

Technology Solutions Administrator

Evelyn Rangel-Medina

Chief of Staff

Vanessa Huang

Development Director

Eugene Torres

Operations & Finance Director | COLORS Coordinator

Kathy Hoang

National Chapter Director

Teófilo Reyes

Research Director

Sheila Maddali

Law and Organizing Director

Geeta Seebe-Taddeo

Executive Assistant, Finance

Larry Swetman

National Coordinator of Digital Organizing

ROC United Board of Directors

Jenna Watanabe

Sean Younge

Taria Vines

Victoria Bruton

ROC-PA Member

Dayna Cunningham

Director, MIT Innovations Lab

Woong Chang

ROC-DC Member

Sarita Gupta

Chair, Executive Director, National Jobs with Justice

Jennifer Herman

MKJ Communications

Imar Hutchins

Owner, Florida Avenue Grill

Jessica Martin

ROC-DC Member

Morgan Simon

Chair, Managing Director of Pi Investments

Abel Valenzuela

Professor, University of California at Los Angeles

(affiliations listed for purposes of identification)

LOCAL ROC CHAPTERS

Bay Area

Bay Area

1825 San Pablo Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612
510-761-7622

Contact: Maricela Gutierrez
maricela@rocunited.org
Boston

Boston

Contact: Mea Johnson
mea@rocunited.org
Chicago

Chicago

77 W. Washington Street,
Suite 1507
Chicago, IL 60602
312-629-2892
Contact: Nataki Rhodes
nataki@rocunited.org
Los Angeles

Los Angeles

3055 Wilshire Blvd
3rd Floor, Room S
Los Angeles, CA 90010

213-380-1020
Contact: Kathy Hoang
kathy@rocunited.org
Michigan

Michigan

311 E Grand River Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
313-962-5020
Contact: Alicia Renee Farris
alicia@rocunited.org
Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast

217 N. Prieur St
New Orleans, LA 70112
504-510-0814
Contact: Laura Ekua
laura.e@rocunited.org
New York

New York

275 7th Ave.
Suite 1703
17th floor
New York, NY 10001
212-343-1661

Contact: Catherine Barnett
catherine@rocunited.org
Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

1329 Buttonwood St.
3rd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19123

215-867-9747
Contact: Samuel Jones
samuel@rocunited.org
Seattle

Seattle

1802 E. Yesler Way
Seattle WA 98122
Contact: Elena Perez
elena@rocunited.org
Washington DC

Washington DC

1100 Florida Ave NW
2nd Floor
Washington DC, 20009
202-559-7498
Contact: Diana Ramirez
diana@rocunited.org

CONTACT US

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES: Contact media@rocunited.org

FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE: Contact legal@rocunited.org

FOR SPEAKER REQUESTS: Contact events@rocunited.org

FOR DONOR INQUIRIES: Contact harvir@rocunited.org

FOR GENERAL HELP: Contact info@rocunited.org