Rep. Tlaib introduces the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights Resolution aimed at transforming lives of millions of restaurant workers nationwide

WASHINGTON D.C, December 19— At an online press conference on Monday morning, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) announced the introduction of the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights Resolution in the House of Representatives that calls for federal government to adopt policies that lead to thriving wages and a thriving life, healing and rest, a safe and dignified work environment, universal healthcare and bodily autonomy and participation in governance for millions of restaurant workers.

The resolution, known as H. Res. 1528, serves as the north star for restaurant industry reform that was drafted alongside the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United — the nation’s first and largest restaurant workers-led organization — and promotes a progressive vision to counteract systemic race and gender injustices and biases in the workplace. Additionally, it addresses the existential challenges that restaurant workers — the majority of whom are immigrants, women and people of color — face each day.

Restaurant workers have been experiencing structural injustices and discriminations that intersect with many policies for decades — and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these issues.

According to a ROC United survey, which included responses from more than 1,000 restaurant workers, 85 percent of them experienced wage loss, 91 percent received no compensation for working in hazardous conditions, 34 percent had no access to personal protective equipment and 1 in 10 workers was forced to go to work while COVID-positive due to lack of sick leave or economic or employers’ pressures. As a result, 60 percent reported that they are looking for work outside of the industry.

“No one should have to worry about paying rent at the end of the month or making ends meet because they can’t rely on consistent tips and lack paid sick leave,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. “Our restaurant workers simply want an opportunity to thrive—not just survive—and deserve a safe, dignified working environment. No worker should be exploited, retaliated against, or denied benefits, especially for organizing for better working conditions and a better quality of life. Access to health care should not be a privilege tied to your employment, but a basic human right.”

“As a lifelong organizer who has fought for the rights of restaurant workers, and a 9/11 survivor who worked as a prep-cook, cook and sous chef at the Windows on the World at World Trade Center, I know that we must do far more than simply going out to the streets with our signs and placards. We must reverse the harmful, unfair policies that severely affect restaurant workers—and the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights is the answer to address the job quality crisis faced by most restaurant workers. The ongoing system in our restaurant industry has been broken for decades, with millions of restaurant workers earning as low as $2.13 per hour since 1991— and no health insurance and paid leave benefits that protect them and their children or the promise of economic security in retirement. We must finally reform it in the most equitable and effective way that focuses on life, liberty, respect, dignity, family and opportunities for all restaurant workers, no matter what their race, skin color, or gender identity is,” said Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United. 

The Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights Resolution lays out the goals and projects a national mobilization to afford restaurant workers the right to:

  • A thriving life
  • Healing and rest
  • A safe and dignified work environment
  • Healthcare and bodily autonomy
  • Participation in governance


“I have been a restaurant worker for more than 30 years—and not a single day that I have been given a paid sick leave. No work, no pay has been the business-as-usual culture in the industry. If my child gets sick and I need to stay at home, that means that my income to feed and support my family will be greatly reduced. Now that we have the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights, I’m proud to work alongside my colleagues as well as with Representative Rashida Tlaib, who understands what restaurant workers are going through, to enact the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights that emphasizes equity, opportunity and protections for everyone,” said Lillian Travis, a restaurant worker in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“I can’t express enough how grateful and honored I am that the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who is a native of Detroit, like me, and has spent all her life in the state of Michigan. Even when I work long hours, I still have to rely on state Medicaid, just for us to be protected in case I or one of my children gets sick. I am also on food stamps. I would have not experienced these hardships if the policies of the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights were already in place. We now need our representatives to vote for this resolution and start advancing the policies that are outlined in the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights. We have been waiting for far too long!” said Crystal Coleman, a restaurant worker in Detroit, Michigan.

Over the past year, thousands of restaurant workers from around the country contributed to the development of the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights. Many of these restaurant workers shared their personal stories about wage theft, low wages, discrimination and the lack of protection in the workplace, and therefore demanding to codify thriving life and liberty as key principles articulated in the bill. 

“2023 will mark the 63rd year anniversary of the Greensboro, NC sit-in protests against racism in American restaurants. Since then, laws have changed, but the practice of treating workers differently based on race is still widely practiced in the restaurant industry. It is past time – way past time, to ensure that restaurant workers have the right to safe and dignified work where they are free from discrimination and harassment. This resolution protecting the rights of restaurant workers strengthens the civil rights movement work of the 1960’s,” said Tanya Wallace-Gobern, executive director of the National Black Worker Center

“Family Values at Work is proud to support all restaurant workers and essential workers. All workers deserve better. Congress must make the entire Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights into law. No one should have to choose between their income and their health, or their income and their family’s security. They deserve the time to rest, time to heal, and time to live with the security of continued income, and a job to come back to,” said Sammy Chavin-Grant, federal policy manager at Family Values at Work

Organizations supporting the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights, in which the H. Res. 1528 is rooted, include: National Black Worker Center; Family Values @ Work; National Employment Law Project; East Biloxi Community Collaborative; Jobs to Move America; Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); PowerSwitch Action; Catch Fire Movement; For All; MS Black Women’s Roundtable; Paid Leave for All Action; Steps Coalition; Main Street Alliance; National Immigration Law Center; Americans for Democratic Action (ADA); Shriver Center on Poverty Law; Oxfam America; A Better Balance; Jobs With Justice; Women Employed; OPEIU; Equal Rights Advocates; Caring Across Generations; Philadelphia Unemployment Project; TRAIL; National Domestic Workers Alliance; HEAL Food Alliance; One Fair Wage; Food Chain Workers; Tompkins County (NY) Workers’ Center; National Partnership for Women & Families; National Council for Occupational Safety and Health; Compañeras Campesinas; Justice for Migrant Women; Alabama State Association of Cooperatives; Center for Economic and Policy Research; Workers’ Dignity Project; MS State Conference; Worker Justice Wisconsin; United for Respect; Restore Oakland; Chicago Food Policy Action Council; Worksafe; Street Level Health Project; Parent Voices California; Coalition on Human Needs; National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association; Human Impact Partners; Rural Coalition; Make the Road Pa; Worker’s Justice Project; Astoria Worker Project; The Women and Girls Foundation; New Jersey Citizen Action; Women’s Law Project; California Work & Family Coalition (Family Values at Work/Fiscal Sponsor).

Here’s the recording of the press conference.

For more information about the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights Resolution and track its growing support, please visit:

For more information or media interviews with ROC United staff and restaurant workers, please contact Anthony Advincula, communications director of ROC United at For Rep. Rashida Tlaib, contact Derrick Utley at