Statements​ and Press Releases

ROC United Celebrates Historic Victory as MI Governor Whitmer Signs Bill to Overturn Right-to-Work Law, Creating More Opportunities for Restaurant Workers

The Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United and thousands of restaurant workers that it serves in Michigan today applauded a decision by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to sign a bill repealing the state’s right-to-work law, which weakened the political power of unions and organized labor groups and, ultimately, prohibited workers from earning higher wages and benefits.

ROC United Celebrates International Women’s Day

Women make up nearly 60 percent of the U.S. restaurant industry. They have made enormous contributions, breaking boundaries and driving change — even in job areas that have historically neither welcomed nor appreciated them.

Why are we asking for job equity for restaurant workers on Black History Month

Today, as we mark the beginning of Black History Month, we honor the remarkable story and contributions of Black people reflected in the fabric of American life. We recognize the greatest movements and institutions that Blacks have built to stress the significance of justice and freedom, resiliency and fair rights under the law.

ROC United statement on the commemoration of Roe v. Wade

The best way to approach the post-Roe world is to be in full prep mode so that we are ready at all times for what may come. Let’s galvanize ourselves by engaging in grassroots organizing, building power, and envisioning abortion rights and bodily autonomy from the ground up.

ROC United remembers the ideals that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. espoused, the values that he fought and died for

As we join the nation to remember and honor the extraordinary legacy of Dr. King, we must continue to fight against racial and gender inequities and economic justices for restaurant workers — the same labor issues that Dr. King sacrificed and died for.

Wishing You Happy Holidays and a Wonderful Start to 2023

During these past three months, our mission to serve restaurant workers and build power in the restaurant industry was more pronounced than ever before. In a national press conference, Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) introduced this week the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights Resolution in the House of Representatives.

Majority of Restaurants in Washington, D.C. Fail to Comply with Tips Disclosure Requirements, a New Report Says, Raising Concerns over Prevalence of Wage Theft

Today, the D.C. Jobs With Justice and Restaurant Opportunities Centers–D.C. released a new report on widespread and longstanding failures of restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area — including those that are managed and operated by prominent and large food establishments with more than $23 million in annual sales — to comply with tips disclosure requirements.

ROC United President’s Message: In appreciation and gratitude

I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to you and everyone who supported and celebrated with us at our recent 20th Anniversary Gala. It marked the start of ROC United’s year-long celebration, and I am totally overwhelmed with feelings of appreciation to all of you who made it possible.

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

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.

ROC United Speaks out on Supreme Court Draft Ruling on Abortion

On behalf of our members, staff, leaders and partners at ROC United, we stand in solidarity with those who have peacefully demonstrated in the name of justice and equality and those who have continued to fight to ensure safe and affordable access to health care services.

This May Day, Restaurant Workers Say ‘Yes’ to the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights

To our brothers and sisters in the restaurant industry—who have risked their own lives, fed us, served us, and delivered our food—thank you for your commitment and hard work. Thank you for your contributions and service to our country.

ROC United’s First Quarter 2022 Impact Report

Our successes this quarter, breaking down barriers and overcoming challenges, wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless and innovative efforts of every ROC United team member, partner and ally nationwide.

ROC United Celebrates the Historic Confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Today, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, along with our members nationwide, is extremely delighted that the Senate voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th Supreme Court justice.

Workers at Blaze Pizza in Minneapolis Win Over $28,000 in Wage-theft Settlement

Former and current workers at Blaze Pizza in Stadium Village will hold a press conference to celebrate an anticipated settlement of over $28,000 in unpaid wages and liquidated damages. The anticipated settlement on behalf of workers is between the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and former owners of Blaze Pizza in Stadium Village.

#ExposeThePepper: Workers at Chili’s allege routine sexual harassment, bullying and exploitation

A group of workers at Chili’s in Florida and California is organizing to fight against what it says are patterns of sexual harassment, bullying, labor abuse and exploitation within the restaurant.

New vaccine rule requires mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, weekly testing for workers of large companies

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a rule enforcing a vaccine mandate for all employers with 100 or more employees.

ROC United announces new website, latest accomplishments

We have refreshed our website to magnify our mission to fully serve restaurant workers, make our local and national programs and campaigns more accessible, acknowledge our dedicated supporters and allies and their invaluable contributions, and build more power with our presence across the country.

ROC Pennsylvania, AG Josh Shapiro Speak With Restaurant Workers, Announce New Partnership to Combat Drug Abuse

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.

On the 20th Anniversary of 9/11: ROC United Honors and Remembers our Fallen Brothers and Sisters at Windows on the World

Today, 20 years after the 9/11 tragedy, we honor our fallen brothers and sisters at Windows on the World. We remember their heroism, their valor, and their sacrifices. We remember their beautiful smiles; their echoing laughter; their inspiring stories; their diverse backgrounds; and their precious lives.

Restaurant workers, ROC-Minnesota members and MN Attorney General Ellison Celebrate Historic Victory for over $230,000 Unpaid Wages Settlement with Bartmann Group

Today, restaurant workers and members of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC)-Minnesota celebrated the more than $230,000 settlement agreement with the Bartmann Group over back wages, unpaid overtime and damages. More than 200 workers in Minneapolis will benefit from the largest settlement agreement in the history of ROC United.

ROC Michigan, Black clergy and interfaith leaders, elected officials, restaurant workers and other low-wage earners to push for federal minimum wage increase for hardworking families

On Sunday, 7/25, it is hard to ignore that the U.S. federal minimum wage has been frozen at $7.25 per hour since 2009. Yes, it has been 12 years since it was last raised $0.70 from $6.55. Since then, hardworking families—including millions of restaurant workers—have struggled to get by: Hundreds of thousands of them live in poverty, rely on public assistance, and experience discrimination and wage theft.

Nearly 1,000 Public Comments Sent to DOL on New Rules to Protect and Raise Wages for Restaurant Workers, Federal Contractors Nationwide

The ‘#StoptheSideWork’ campaign to reduce wage theft in restaurants and the $15 for federal contractors’ campaign has reached a milestone this week, as nearly 1,000 restaurant workers across the country submitted their public comments in support of the new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rules.

ROC United’s Report Reveals Wage Disparities, Lack of Job Protection, Poverty that Millions of U.S. Restaurant Workers Face During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While much recent attention has centered on the mounting labor shortage in the restaurant industry, far less focus is being given to the wage shortage, lack of paid leave and other job protections, and poverty that nearly 13 million restaurant workers — the majority of whom are women, immigrants and people of color — experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

Seattle Office for Civil Rights partners with ROC United to celebrate Seattle restaurant owners

The Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, in partnership with the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR), released a report in July 2020 called “The Great Service Divide: Occupational Segregation, Inequality, and the Promise of a Living Wage in the Seattle Restaurant Industry,” which highlighted the disparities in racial equity and segregation in Seattle restaurants.

This Labor Day, We Salute Our Restaurant Workers

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.

ROC United’s Victories and Milestones

It’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day work—long hours of mobilizing and organizing with our members, seemingly endless Zoom meetings, and brainstorming ideas to ensure that we make it right and never drop the ball. But while we take pride in our core values that we’re all in this work together, it’s equally important for all of us to take the time to celebrate our victories and milestones.

Statement from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) Action on May Day

Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, issued the following statement about the vital role immigrant workers—many of whom work in the restaurant and service industries—play in our communities.

ROC United Statement on House Passage of Coronavirus Economic Relief Package

On behalf of the restaurant workers that we serve and represent across the country, we thank the House for passing this groundbreaking emergency coronavirus economic stimulus package. Our members, along with numerous partners and allies on the ground, have fought for paid sick days, paid medical leave and child care assistance for years — and so we are thankful that their enthusiastic commitment and hard work have come to some fruition.

Restaurant workers have done their part — now it’s time for you to help them through these challenging times

As Congress passed the new $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, the importance of our work has been tremendously magnified. Consider that the $15 minimum wage provision was excluded from the package and had left undocumented workers unqualified for the stimulus payments of up to $1,400 per person.

ROC United Statement on the Lawsuit Filed Against Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan today responded to the lawsuit filed against Attorney General Dana Nessel for failing to reverse an unconstitutional opinion that blocks efforts to raise the state’s minimum wage and provide earned sick leave for all workers.

ROC Action urges Senate to pass $15 minimum wage

Today, Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of ROC Action, issued the following response to the House passage of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which includes a $15 minimum wage provision

ROC Action Commends Congress for Passing $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Relief with More Funding for Restaurants

Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of ROC Action, issued the following response to the Congress passage of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which includes billions of dollars to help restaurants and child care resources.

CBO Report: 27 Million Working Families, including Tipped Workers, Would Benefit from $15 Minimum Wage Increase

Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would benefit at least 27 million workers, including those who receive tips, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office released Monday. With higher annual earnings, CBO found that it would reduce income inequality among workers in the country and lifting out 1.3 million families out of poverty.

ROC United Provides Employees Paid Time Off to Vote, Volunteer in Nonpartisan Efforts on Election Day

Workers shouldn’t have to choose between earning a paycheck and exercising their right to vote. There are just 20 days remaining until Election Day. With the clock ticking towards what may be the most important and consequential election of our lifetime, we want to ensure that eligible voters cast their ballots early or head to the polls safely on November 3, 2020.

ROC United stands with the Asian American community in wake of attack

We are heartbroken and outraged by the continued and rising violence against the Asian American community. We are reminded, once again, that racism is a seeding ground for hatred that destroys lives and blights our communities.

Statement from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) Action on the Biden-Harris Inauguration

On behalf of the thousands of restaurant workers that ROC serves nationwide, we offer our most sincere congratulations to Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris as the first biracial Black and Indian female Vice President in the history of our country.

How Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Message Still Resonates With Restaurant Workers Today

As we join others in honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I encourage to reflect on the ideals he espoused, the values that he fought and died for, and his vision for a country that believed in respect and dignity for all workers.

Today, Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of ROC ACTION, issued the following statement on the acts of domestic terrorism at the U.S. Capitol:

Our hearts sank as we witnessed the mayhem and violence that unfolded at the United States Capitol yesterday. It was nothing short of a violent assault on our democracy and nation. It was an act of domestic terrorism incited by President Donald Trump, in person, and on social media, and carried out by his extremist supporters.

The future of our democracy is in your hands: Early voting in GA starts today

Today Georgia starts with early voting for its two U.S. Senate runoff elections. We can’t overstate enough the importance of the January 5th elections. They will not only determine control of the U.S Senate―but they will also have a tremendous impact on how we can build power and create the change that working people like us want to see in our democracy and values as a nation.

ROC Action responds to MI ruling that bans paid transportation to polls

In response to a ruling that bans most paid transportation of voters to the polls in Michigan, Dr. Alicia Renee Farris, state director of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) Michigan and COO of ROC Action, which recently launched the #ROCMIVote voter transportation campaign, issued the following statement:

ROC United Supports National Black Voter Day

“No Black voter should be left behind in 2020. It does not matter where you live—urban or suburban—and which state you are in—swing state or battleground—this is the most critical time that every Black voice must be heard and be a part of the democratic process.

Statement on Black Lives Matter

We at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United grieve for the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and so many of our Black brothers and sisters who were and have continuously been victims of police brutality and abuse of power. Their senseless killing is nothing but an emblem of a historically racist and authoritarian system that incites hatred and violence against Blacks.