ROC United President’s Message: In appreciation and gratitude
I hope that this finds you in a safe and happy space!
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.
By many measures 20 years is not a long time. But staying true to our mission, we count not by the number of years but by the number of work and accomplishments that we have. We are thankful for the many talented and committed people who have helped steer a course that has enabled ROC United to grow and prosper, and it is truly remarkable that you have been part of such a milestone that has brought us to this moment.
As we just entered the Fourth Quarter of 2022, I want to highlight how restaurant workers across the country have continued to build power in the workplace, and how they play a critical role in pushing for a Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights in city, state and federal levels. The time is now for us to protect and prioritize the needs of restaurant workers, and I urge you to demand Congress introduce the bill so that restaurant workers have the right to a thriving life, healing and rest, a safe and dignified work environment, healthcare and bodily autonomy, and participation in governance.
- Last month, in commemoration of Labor Day, we launched the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights in various ROC United chapters. Then, a national press conference with restaurant workers, community partners and U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Marie Newman (IL-03) followed. In the process of creating the Bill of Rights, we are also building a national movement of thousands of restaurant workers – from front and back of the house, their families, and organizations.
- In Michigan, the Court of Claims ruled in July that the Republican-led Legislature violated the state constitution when it adopted and then quickly amended the minimum wage and paid sick leave initiatives in 2018. The ruling is a significant step towards building a better Michigan, where all workers are ensured a minimum wage with tips on top, and paid sick leave for all our hardworking families. Because of our efforts, along with partners and allies, Michigan’s minimum wage would now be $12 an hour and every worker would have more economic opportunities and job protections.
As a former French teacher, it taught me that what people learn, build and pursue over time, if it is done with hard work, determination and appropriate actions, will have enduring value. Strong worker participation is the key to building a strong worker power.
Please connect with our chapter leads and organizers, if you have any concerns or questions about our work. Learn and know about your rights. Attend our meetings and events.
We are here 24/7 and always happy to help!
Dr. Sekou Siby