Statement from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United on Labor Day 2021

September 6, 2021

Happy Labor Day! On this special occasion, September 6, we honor and salute our restaurant workers for their sacrifice, resiliency and indispensable contributions to the strength and safety of our nation. Restaurant workers are our everyday heroes, risking their own lives and the lives of their loved ones to prepare and deliver food to our table. 

This is a Labor Day like no other—​​the pandemic is still within our midst and economic circumstances for many hardworking families remain dire. Our restaurant workers have been essential to the revival of our economy. It is truly their hard work and the unwillingness to give up that helps us recover and keep the wheels of industry turning.

Yet, as we praise and celebrate their vital achievements, notable as they are, this Labor Day also offers us an opportunity to recognize what we can do for them: restaurant workers deserve living wages, improved working conditions and better job protections, such as paid leave and proper healthcare. 

It truly begins with us, the leaders and advocates for racial, gender and economic equity in labor. The Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United has been working hand in hand with the U.S. Department of Labor. This week alone, one of our members, Lillian Travis, a bartender and caterer in Jackson, Mississippi, talked to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and shared her story to build a more inclusive workforce that would allow workers to thrive while caring for their families.

So on this Labor Day, let’s stand with our brothers and sisters in the restaurant industry. It is our utmost responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind and struggle alone. With our dedication and continued support for one another, we are optimistic that a brighter future holds for restaurant workers.