ROC United’s First Quarter 2022 Impact Report

At ROC United, our first quarter results reflect our strength and commitment to stay true to our mission of improving the lives of restaurant workers with thriving wages and benefits and transforming the restaurant industry for the better.

We empower workers, workers empower the industry.

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. For this I am deeply grateful.

  • ROC Minnesota celebrated with Blaze Pizza workers for winning nearly $30,000 in wage-theft settlement. The settlement came after months of organizing and taking action with workers, alongside the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, to address wage violations in their workplace. In a press conference, current and former Blaze Pizza workers shared their stories.
  • ROC United has launched a six-month initiative to build a national movement of restaurant workers and organizations in support of a Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights — a comprehensive policy framework that will systematically address challenges, injustices, and discrimination that restaurant workers, especially BIPOC and women, face every day. In March, we gathered with restaurant workers, allied organizations and three members of Congress (Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Chuy Garcia, and Rep. Marie Newman) at the Capitol Hill, sharing stories on why a Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights is fundamental.
  • While restaurant workers are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, ROC United released the report, “Impact of COVID-19 on restaurant workers across America.” The findings were based on the survey interviews with more than 1,000 restaurant workers, conducted in 2020 and 2021. At the press event, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who was instrumental in passing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), addressed the need to replenish federal aid for restaurant owners in order to provide their workers with continuous employment.
  • ROC Los Angeles, in collaboration with UC Berkeley, launched a new multimedia resource site for workers and worker organizations in the state. Taking Action for Safety and Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic is a bilingual site, featuring photos, videos and stories of workers in the restaurant, food service, retail and agriculture industries, as well as guides and tips for workers on how to address health and safety issues on the job.
  • Recognizing the importance of building power through workforce development and narrowing the digital divide among restaurant workers, most particularly Blacks and Latinos who can’t even afford to have firsthand access to the internet, I was selected as one of the National Skills Coalition (NSC) new board members. ROC United’s leadership and partnership with NSC will help us carry out our programmatic goals—including national and local policy campaigns around wages and racial equity—that are aligned with our mission.
  • Amid the surge of the Omicron variant, ROC New York and dozens of restaurant workers braved the cold weather to gather at Casellula Restaurant, with owner Brian Keyser, demanding city and state officials to pass legislation that would ensure them the job protections that they need.
  • Since January 2022, ROC United has about 60 cases pending in various places across the country concerning wage theft, unpaid wages, discrimination and retaliatory termination. We have mounted nearly a dozen sign-on petitions on key issues that matter to restaurant workers, including voting rights, paid sick leave and child care.

I could not be more proud of the way we came together to serve our members and partners. ROC United has set the bar high for all of our goals, and we will continue working around the clock to defend the rights of restaurant workers nationwide.

In solidarity,

Dr. Sekou Siby