ROC United in the News


Three Years After Covid Hit, Restaurants Are Still Desperate for Workers, Bloomberg, March 9, 2023

More than 60% of establishments said in a recent survey that they’re understaffed.

Three years after COVID hit, restaurants are still desperate for workers, The Spokesman Review, March 8, 2023

Americans are rushing back to restaurants after staying away during the pandemic. To catch that demand, chains are opening thousands of new locations. It has the makings of a boom, except for one glaring problem: there aren’t enough workers.

‘The future of restaurants’: How kitchen fees are meeting the economic moment, The Boston Globe, March 7, 2023

More restaurants are adding extra fees to your bill in a bid to close the long-standing gap between the take-home pay for those who serve food and those who prepare it.

Burned Out, More Americans Are Turning to Part-Time Jobs, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 25, 2023

The number of people working part time rose by 1.2 million in December and January—most were people who chose it. ‘25 hours is the new 35.’

Bay Area restaurant worker sues employer over sexual harassment, San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 24, 2023

A Bay Area restaurant worker has filed a sexual harassment case against her former employer, alleging the head chef repeatedly sexually harassed her and the owners didn’t take action to prevent the misconduct.

Minimum, tipped wage fights moves to Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Live, Feb. 10, 2023

Michigan’s minimum and tipped wage legal battle could be moving onto the Michigan Supreme Court. Supporters of the wage raise appealed to the state’s highest court for a reversal of an earlier Court of Appeals decision.

Opinion: Equity for New York’s Restaurant Workers This Black History Month, City Limits, Feb. 7, 2023

We must recognize that restaurant workers, many of whom have been doing their jobs for at least a decade, are the same as those in other industries who deserve equitable pay, paid time off, health care, and other job protections to ensure quality of life for themselves and their families.

The National Restaurant Association, Explained, Eater, Feb. 3, 2023

When you hear the acronym “NRA,” you probably think of the organization that is laser-focused on ensuring that this country never passes another common-sense gun law. But there’s another NRA, the National Restaurant Association, that also wields a great deal of political power in both Washington, D.C., and state legislatures across the country, all with the stated goal of supporting — and lobbying for — restaurants of all shapes and sizes.

Michigan court ruling halts $13.03 minimum wage increase, AP News, Jan. 27, 2023

A move by Republicans in the 2018 Michigan Legislature to weaken minimum wage and sick leave laws was declared constitutional by an appeals court Thursday, reversing a lower court’s ruling last year that would have increased minimum wage in the state by nearly $3 in February.

Restaurant group uses workers’ cash to lobby against them, advocates say, Midland Reporter Telegram, Jan. 27, 2023

Restaurant group uses workers’ cash to lobby against them, advocates say, Chron News, Jan. 27, 2023

ServSafe is a training platform with multiple offerings, including ones designed for managers, food handlers, bartenders and more. The programs generate millions of dollars a year for the NRA, representing one of the association’s major revenue streams that it then funnels into advocacy work.

Restaurant group uses workers’ cash to lobby against them, advocates say, The Washington Post, Jan. 27, 2023

Ventus is one of two plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, against the NRA and its ServSafe program. In the complaint, Ventus and Sean Gallagher claim that the National Restaurant Association offered a training program with “little to no value,” only to raise cash to funnel into the group’s lobbying efforts. “Plaintiffs are in effect being forced to fund lobbying efforts against their own interests unknowingly and in violation of generally accepted business practices and other laws,” the complaint alleges.

‘Ignored, angry, helpless’: workers allege sexual harassment at US country club, The Guardian, Jan. 27, 2023

A May 2018 survey by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United found 34% of women who formerly worked as tipped restaurant workers left their jobs due to sexual harassment they experienced in the workplace.

Minimum wage increase set for February blocked by Michigan court, Michigan Bridge News, Jan. 26, 2023

A panel of Michigan judges on Thursday overturned a lower court’s ruling that would have raised Michigan’s minimum wage rise to $13.03 an hour and increased the tipped minimum wage to $11.73 an hour next month.

How the FTC’s Noncompete Ban Would Affect Food Workers, Food and Power, Jan. 26, 2023

On January 5, the Federal Trade Commission proposed a rule that would ban noncompete agreements for all workers in the U.S., which are employment terms that bar workers from joining a competing business or starting their own rival business for a set period after leaving a job. Though the rule faces legal challenges, if finalized it would benefit millions of food industry workers, helping to raise wages and unleash entrepreneurship.

Court ruling blocks minimum wage hike for Michigan workers next month, The Detroit News, Jan. 26, 2023

A Michigan Court of Appeals panel ruled Thursday that the Legislature’s effort in 2018 to adopt and amend ballot initiatives in the same session was legal, blocking a nearly $3 to $8 an hour hike in the state’s minimum wage from going into effect next month.

Michigan Appeals Court Ruling Could Stall Minimum-Wage Increase Next Month, Eater Detroit, Jan. 26, 2023

The Michigan Court of Appeals on Thursday, January 26, voted to overturn a 2022 lower court judge ruling, halting a statewide minimum wage and sick leave increase that was scheduled to take effect next month.

$7.5 million returned to workers in Pa. shortchanged by companies in 2022, CBS News Philadelphia, Jan 25, 2023

CBS News Philadelphia has learned $7.5 million dollars was returned to workers in Pennsylvania who were shortchanged by their companies last year. Now, a Philadelphia woman is on a mission to help even more workers get the money that’s owed to them.

Detroit Service Industry Workers Need More Protections, Michigan Chronicle, Jan. 24, 2023

Although they are everywhere, restaurant workers are a class of a community’s economy that often doesn’t get the protections and benefits entitled to employees in other industries. From a lack of steady, livable wages, health insurance, and strict regulations to safeguard against harassment, the service industry and growing gig economy leaves tens of thousands of workers in Detroit without these critical safeguards to live a dignified life. 

What We’re Reading: Alt-labor: What are workers’ rights nonprofits?, Grantmakers in the Arts, Jan. 24, 2023

The unique and dynamic needs of such workers have given rise to a new form of labor organizations. Meet the growing ‘alt-labor’ movement: today’s emerging ecosystem comprised of the latest variety of workers’ rights organizations. Unlike 501(c)(5) labor unions, most alt-labor organizations are 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Thus, they cannot engage in collective bargaining on behalf of workers or formally organize legal strikes. Instead, they pursue a variety of other strategies centering on litigation, education, and industry-wide advocacy.

ROC United Appearance, Freedom Side Live, Jan. 19, 2023

Restaurant workers are taking training courses that then fund the industry’s anti-worker lobbying efforts against minimum wage increases. The National Restaurant Association has raised millions over the years through its ownership of ServSafe, the de facto food-safety training course for the industry. Teo Reyes, Chief Program Officer at ROC United, breaks down the ServSafe scam and the National Restaurant Associations’ decades-long fight to prevent minimum wage and subminimum wage increases.

2022  (click here to download)

Lawmakers Introduce Restaurant Workers’ Bill of Rights, Public News Service, Dec. 20, 2022

In response to massive pandemic-related layoffs, new legislation in Congress would create a bill of rights for restaurant workers. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has sponsored House Resolution 1528, which was based on responses to a survey from Restaurant Opportunities Center United.

Tlaib introduces Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights to improve the lives of restaurant workers nationwide, The Arab American News, Dec. 20, 2022

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) introduced House Resolution 1528, the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights, in partnership with worker members of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, recognizing restaurant workers’ rights to thriving wages, healing, rest, a safe and dignified working environment, universal health care, bodily autonomy and democracy in their workplace.

Tlaib champions bill of rights for underpaid, overworked restaurant workers, Detroit Metro Times, Dec. 19, 2022

Coleman is among millions of people nationwide who would benefit from the House Resolution 1528, the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Friday. The bill calls for a “thriving wage,” access to health care, paid-time off for illness and to care for family, and the right to a safe and dignified work environment.

Bill proposed by congresswoman aiming to help restaurant workers in Metro Detroit receives pushback, Click on Detroit, Dec. 19, 2022

It’s a move to raise wages for restaurant workers and improve their working conditions and benefits. However, the legislation proposed Monday (Dec. 19) by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is getting some pushback. The pandemic did a number on so many businesses, but few industries were hit harder than the hospitality industry, with restaurant employees especially taking a big financial hit.

PA Food Service Workers Asking Congress for Bill of Rights, WRBT FM iHeart Radio/WHP580 Newsroom, Oct. 28, 2022

Op-ed: I’m a Restaurant Worker, Not a Robot, Civil Eats, Oct. 28, 2022

Organization’s findings show majority of DC restaurants failing to report tips, WJLA, Oct. 27, 2022

Report says restaurants aren’t reporting wages, tips to District (Live Reporting), DC News Now, Oct. 27, 2022

PA Groups Join Call to Action for Congress to Support Restaurant Workers, BCTV, Oct. 27, 2022

Report says restaurants aren’t reporting wages, tips to District, DC News Now, Oct. 27, 2022

PA Groups Join Call to Action for Congress to Support Restaurant Workers, Public News Service, Oct. 26, 2022

‘Overwhelming majority’ of DC restaurants did not disclose tipped wages: reportFOX 5, Oct. 26, 2022

Many Bars And Restaurants Not Reporting Wage Data, Says Report, But D.C. Also Isn’t Making It Easy, DCist, Oct. 26, 2022

Advocates Press Congress to Support Restaurant Workers’ Bill of Rights, Public News Service, Oct. 25, 2022

Advocates Press Congress to Support Restaurant Workers’ Bill of Rights, Public News Service, Oct. 25, 2022

Food-service workers and their allies are calling on Congress to support the new “Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights,” a document calling for higher wages, better working conditions and access to health care.

The job market has been like musical chairs. Will the music stop?, The New York Times, Oct. 07, 2022

The job market has been like musical chairs. Will the music stop?

The Tipping Point, Washington Monthly, Oct. 5, 2022

D.C.’s restaurant industry has defeated efforts to raise the minimum wage for restaurant workers before. This year, advocates believe they have a winning campaign.

ROC United’s New Restaurant Bill of Rights and KC tenants new political arm, KKFI, Oct. 13, 2022

On Labor Day ROC United introduced the Restaurant Worker Bill of Rights, with model local, state, and federal legislation. Find out how they want to add some rights to your working or dining experience. Then, hundreds rallied last Saturday for the formation of KC Power, the political arm of KC Tenants. They promise to be a voice in the city and beyond for the rights and interests of renters and all those challenged by the high cost of housing. Ariana will Remember Our Struggle in labor history.

Washington’s student loan changes free some grads, while others keep heavy burdens, Public Source, Oct. 3, 2022

Pittsburgh restaurants labor to find footing in a new reality of dining out, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 01, 2022

New California Labor Reforms Targeted by Fast Food Industry, LA Progressive, LA Progressive, Sept. 29, 2022

Servers in pigtails earn more tips. It’s creeping them out, The Washington Post, Sept. 21, 2022

Once Upon a Time, “Waitress” Was a Union Job. Could History Repeat Itself?, Slate, Sept. 20, 2022

The case for tipping for takeout, The Washington Post, Sept. 16, 2022

Test Used to Ensure Fair Housing Also Can Combat Hiring Bias, Bloomberg News, Sept. 15, 2022

9/11 terror attacks reverberate as US marks 21st anniversary, The Associated Press, Sept. 12, 2022

On Labor Day, big wins for workers, new hopes and unfinished business, Michigan Advance, Sept. 05, 2022

Maneet Chauhan’s Chaatable closes in Sylvan Park with pop-ups, relocation planned, The Tennessean, Aug. 27, 2022

Local groups demand UPMC “pay what they owe” to city tax coffers, Pittsburgh City Paper, Aug. 19, 2022

Michigan Workers Win Minimum-Wage Increase, Paid Sick Leave, NPR Public News Service, Aug. 18, 2022

Restaurant Workers Plan Capitol Hill Push to Improve Conditions, NPR Minnesota/Public News Service, Aug. 09, 2022

‘LONG OVERDUE:’ Restaurant workers welcome higher wages, benefits as owners warn of closures, MiBiz, Aug. 08, 2022

Subminimum Wages Were Always Deplorable. Inflation Is Making Them Worse, Truthout, Aug. 08, 2022

5 things to consider when looking for a new job, The Associated Press, Aug. 06, 2022

Austin Restaurant Workers Plan To Unionize Local Pizzerias In New Organizing Effort, Huffington Post, Aug. 05, 2022

Restaurant Workers Seeking Legislation Outlining Rights, NPR/Public News Service, Aug. 04, 2022

As temperatures rise, chefs find they can’t stand the heat anymore, The Washington Post, Aug. 01, 2022

How Pennsylvania’s new minimum wage regulations will impact workers, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Aug. 2022

‘$13 an hour? no thanks snacks aren’t benefits’: Restaurant increases prices by 50%, blames ‘lazy workers’ in job flyer, Daily Dot, July 27, 2022

Court Rules in Favor of Increasing Minimum Wage – Even for Tipped Workers, Oakland County Times, July 26, 2022

Court ruling could spike minimum hourly wage to $12 in Michigan for most workers. Here are the details, The Gander Newsroom, July 20, 2022

‘Fair wage fees’ are replacing traditional tips at some Boulder restaurants. Is it a more equitable payment model for restaurant workers?, Boulder Reporting Lab, July 13, 2022

Chipotle United Fights for Restaurant Workers’ Rights, FoodTank, July 2022

Inflation is causing more people to skimp on tips, hitting service workers hard, USA Today, June 26, 2022

The new labor movement is having a moment. Here are the eight funders that have its back, Inside Philanthropy, June 22, 2022

Carencro Restaurant applauded, dragged online for ‘Help Wanted’ sign, KTDY Radio, May 18, 2022

New State Law For Alcohol Servers Could Leave Many Non-English Speakers Out of Luck, The San Francisco Standard, May 13, 2022

Why Detroit food service workers are leaving the hospitality industry, Detroit Free Press, April 10, 2022

In NYC, ads for jobs will have to say what they pay, The Associated Press, April 29, 2022

Pizza chain workers win $28,000 settlement, WCCO News, March 30, 2022

$28K recovered In Minneapolis Blaze Pizza wage theft case,, March 30, 2022

2 Minneapolis businesses settle wage theft cases, CBS News Minnesota, March 29, 2022

Restaurant Workers need a bill of rights, CounterPunch, March 08, 2022

Housing, wages, health: California programs struggle to live up to goals, CalMatters, March 2022

Aspen Institute’s 2022 Job Quality Fellows Advocating for Economy that Values Workers, Global NewsWire, Feb. 24, 2022

The 2022 New York State Labor Power 100, City & State, Feb 2022

Tipped worker wages targeted as labor committee backs phaseout of subminimum wage, State House News Service, Feb. 15, 2022

Workers, allies push California fast food law, People’s World, Jan. 31, 2022

‘We Were Homeless’: Michigan Mom Shares Why She Wants a Higher Minimum Wage, The Gander Newsroom, Jan. 25, 2022

A Canadian restaurant was closed after it accepted dog photos instead of vaccination proof, The Washington Post, Jan. 20, 2022

One year after the Capitol Insurrection, Philanthropy must step up efforts to restore national solidarity and trust,, Jan. 05, 2022

Dying to serve? A restaurant worker’s plea for organizing, Portside, Jan. 03, 2022

Blaze Pizza workers win back stolen wages, Workday Magazine

Subminimum Wages Were Always Deplorable. Inflation Is Making Them Worse, Faith Family America

Chef Raichelle Carter on How Restaurant Racial Inequality Impairs Talented Black Chefs, Wide Open Eats

Initiative 77 divides District’s tipped workers, restaurant owners, The Associated Press

The restaurant labor crisis won’t end in 2022. But it’s improving, Restaurant Div


After siege on Capitol Hill, curfew hits an already crippled restaurant industry, DOW Jones MarketWatch, January 11, 2020

“Because of the public-health crisis, we don’t know how it’s going to be,” said Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of ROC United.” The riots could heighten consumer hesitancy to hang around the nation’s capital, he added.

New tipping rules will help restaurant owners and hurt workers, advocates say, The Washington Post, January 8, 2021

“I think we can undo [the new regulations] quickly and then go over the entire process where the Labor Department is having a conversation with all the stakeholders to see how we can really create good jobs in the food industry,” said Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of ROC United.

Jobs, jobs, jobs, Market Place, January 8, 2021

As the worsening pandemic continues to slow the jobs recovery, Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO, speaks with PBS MarketPlace how the vaccine will help restaurant workers in Washington, D.C. and across the country.

Ohio restaurants can’t find workers, even with so many people out of work, The Columbus Dispatch, January 8, 2021

Jennifer Moreau, a restaurant worker in Cincinnati, OH, challenges the notion that workers would rather stay home and accept higher unemployment payments. “I want to work and earn the money I’m making,” she said.


A pandemic surge in food delivery has made ghost kitchens and virtual eateries one of the only growth areas in the restaurant industry, The Washington Post, Sept. 17, 2020

“Virtual restaurant workers are more vulnerable because of the nature of the employment itself,” says Sekou Siby of ROC United. “A ghost kitchen may change locations, like a pop-up, so the Labor Department doesn’t know where it is. In order to file a complaint, you need to know where your employer is.”

NYC restaurants can soon add a Covid-19 surcharge to customers’ bills, CNN, Sept. 19, 2020

“We will support the bill as long as there is a guarantee that restaurant workers will at least earn similar wages before the pandemic,” said Anthony Advincula, spokesman for Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a non-profit advocating for higher wages and better working conditions for restaurant workers.

It’s time for Allegheny County to Provide Paid Sick Days for All, TribLive, Sept. 16, 2020

“For too long,” according to restaurant workers, “we’ve let a powerful few block efforts to ensure paid time to care for our loved ones and recover from illness ourselves. When any one of us does not have access to paid time off to stay home, all of us are at risk.”

2019 (click here to download)