“AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has a hard time pronouncing “Jayaraman,” but he’s been getting some practice.
“At a conference of labor researchers this spring, the union leader introduced Saru Jayaraman, co-director and co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC), as a “real pioneer.” No wonder he’s impressed. In an industry that, according to the Labor Department, is more than 95 percent unorganized, ROC has been winning money settlements for workers, improving conditions in trendsetting restaurants, and making a policy impact large enough to render one of the nation’s most powerful corporate lobbies visibly nervous.
“Indeed, in calling Jayaraman a pioneer who’s “demanding answers to the questions that need to be asked about the future of workers,” Trumka may have things backward. The truth is, ROC’s not demanding answers so much as coming up with them, and they are answers that may have beyond-the-restaurant relevance for twenty-first-century labor.
Read the full piece by Laura Flanders in The Nation here.
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