Fordham Law

Workers’ Rights Advocate to Speak about Restaurant Workforce on Feb. 5

January 29, 2013

How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? And how do poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables?

On Tuesday, February 5, notable labor advocate Saru Jayaraman will talk about her experience organizing restaurant workers, building a national movement for workplace justice, and how individuals can be involved in advocating for better labor practices in the restaurant industry. The event, “Behind the Kitchen Door: Working Conditions in America’s Restaurants,” will take place in the Law School’s moot court room (room 304) from 4–5 p.m.

Jayaraman is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. Following 9/11, she and displaced World Trade Center workers co-founded ROC in New York, which has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conducted research and policy work, partnered with responsible restaurants, and launched cooperatively-owned restaurants. ROC now has 10,000 members in 19 cities nationwide. Jayaraman is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times "Public Lives" section in 2005 and was named one of Crain's "40 Under 40" in 2008, 1010 Wins' "Newsmaker of the Year," and one of New York magazine's "Influentials" of New York City.

The February 5 event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Community Economic Development Clinic, the Feerick Center for Social Justice, the Public Interest Resource Center, and the Workers Rights Coalition.