Worker Center Network

ROC-NY worker leaders are "Hungry for Justice"

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The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY), a worker center organizing restaurant workers New York City, launched their “Hungry for Justice” fundraising campaign last month. ROC-NY hopes the campaign will raise $25,000 by Sept. 21, to support the center's work to raise wages and improve working conditions for restaurant workers in the Big Apple.

Worker leaders with ROC-NY are hungry for justice. Hunger among workers is a constant reminder than seven of the 10 lowest paying jobs are in the restaurant industry. But the that hunger also inspires and drives the ROC-NY community to continue their struggle for healthy and safe work environments, equal opportunities, job security and dignity.

“ROC-NY has been an accessory, supporter, organizer, and above all, an aid in our struggle to get the changes we want in the industry. They’ve helped us form a strong group as unity is what gives us strength,” said Ignacio Viellgas, a pantry cook at the Capital Grille in one of the videos on Hungry for Justice Campaign.

In the last 10 years, ROC-NY reported significant economic, race and gender inequality in the city’s restaurant industry. Surveys indicated 60 percent of restaurant workers are earning poverty wages, and more than 80 percent of workers feel they’re at risk of injury in the workplace. Women are paid more than 20 percent less than their male counterparts with the same qualifications. Women of color are paid nearly 30 percent less than their male counterparts, according to one report.

ROCY-NY has organized around the Paid Sick Days bill in NYC since 2009, and just recently a version of the bill became law (though it did exclude some workers from the coverage, and ROC-NY plans to continue to organize for paid sick days that apply to all workers).

ROC-NY is a member of the growing IWJ network of worker centers. It is also part of ROC-United, a national network of worker centers organizing to improve wages and working conditions for the nation's restaurant workers in cities all across the U.S. ROC-NY was the first worker center of its kind in the ROC network.

The financial contributions from this campaign will help ROC-NY continue to support campaigns like Capital Grille workers’ organizing efforts.

Click here to learn more about ROC-NY and to support the “Hungry for Justice” campaign.

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