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

I can’t express enough how appreciative and proud I am to have worked with remarkable people nationwide. From our staff and worker members at ROC United to our community partners and supporters, these devoted individuals tirelessly advocate for restaurant workers daily and contribute their resources to help advance our cause.

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.

There’s still more critical work that needs to be done. Can I count on your support with a contribution today? 

In recent months ROC United has been at the forefront of the news, and we are truly excited to share some of these stories with you, in case you have missed them:

  • As New York City restaurants reopened, USA Today interviewed a ROC worker member, Diandra Sital, who was furloughed from her job at a seafood restaurant in the Bronx. 
  • In Washington, D.C., just a few minutes after the passage of the American Rescue Plan, Telemundo 44 came to us to hear our perspective on how the $15 minimum wage increase would lift millions of workers out of poverty.
  • When the Department of Labor issued new tipping rules, The Washington Post reached out to us on how these tipping regulations pose a threat to restaurant workers. 
  • The New York Daily News published a co-authored op-ed piece on what can be done for restaurant workers to protect them and address their needs.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer also published an op-ed piece of a ROC organizer who has been working without access to paid leave and a single sick day off.
  • ROC was also at the center of The Wall Street Journal/MarketWatch story on curfew in Washington, D.C., after the siege on the Capitol.
  • As the restaurant industry continues to hobble due to the pandemic, CNN talked to us about a surcharge that may soon be added to customers’ bills dining indoors and outdoors at restaurants. 
  • And in Wisconsin, after a restaurant worker died of COVID-19, WISC TV Channel 3000 contacted us to respond on how to keep the workers safe.
  • Jennifer Moreau, our worker sister in Cincinnati, told The Columbus Dispatch that the notion that workers would rather stay home and accept higher unemployment payments is wrong. “I want to work and earn the money I’m making,” she said. 
  • As ghost kitchens–those without dining rooms or bricks-and-mortar locations for diners–are cropping up through COVID-19, The Washington Post spoke to us, again, on how these kitchens might make workers more vulnerable.
  • The Los Angeles Times interviewed ROC about paid sick leave that will only be given to workers at businesses with 500 or more employees. “It’s a slap in the face to those immigrant workers who are putting their life at risk right now to feed us.”
  • Last but not the least, I was in a national press conference with nearly a hundred reporters and editors from ethnic media outlets last week. The Chinese-language US News Express, Urdu News, a Pakistani American weekly, and five other publications in Spanish, Korean, Filipino, Gujarati and Arabic reported about ROC’s fight for $15 minimum wage for workers.


If you’re able, please consider sharing your stimulus check, partly or wholly, to let restaurant workers know they are not alone.

Thanks to Ford Foundation for recognizing ROC United and my leadership to amplify the voices of restaurant workers and ensure they have a better place to work in. 

I am deeply honored to be appointed by the National Skills Coalition and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships to serve on a national Retail/Hospitality Industry Recovery Panel that will advise the Biden administration and new Congress on federal recovery policies in the coming months. Different industries have experienced the pandemic in different ways; we need industry-specific solutions to build an inclusive recovery. 

I wish I could share every story that highlights our advocacy and engagement with restaurant workers. Lots more is coming, for sure. But these stories reflect what we can accomplish together to revive the restaurant industry and make it thrive. Stay safe and steadfast. 

With gratitude,

Sekou Siby