March 17, 2014

Statement from Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, on the National Restaurant Association and Darden Restaurant Inc’s minimum wage opposition letter

“The National Restaurant Association likes to showcase small ‘mom and pop’ restaurants, but the truth is that they’re using their corporate cash to advance anti-worker agendas on behalf of their Fortune 500 corporate members; this weekend’s revelation in the New York Times is another example of exactly that.

“The public overwhelmingly supports raising the minimum wage, a majority of small business owners already pay their workers more than the minimum required and support raising wages, and perhaps most astonishingly, raising the minimum wage has been proven to be good for business time and time again. In a forthcoming report from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), we actually demonstrate that the strongest restaurant industries are in states that have abolished the sub-minimum wage.

“Unfortunately, as one of the nation’s most powerful lobbies, the National Restaurant Association’s influence extends beyond the restaurant world and into fighting women’s rights, animal welfare, and healthy & sustainable food initiatives. That’s why ROC United and allies from various sectors are launching a multi-year campaign to get the NRA’s corporate cash out of Congress. The campaign launch includes an infographic detailing their influence and a petition calling on Congress to stop taking money from the NRA. ROC United and its allies plan to have thousands of boots on the ground when the NRA makes it to D.C. in a few weeks for their annual lobby day.


Co-founded by labor rights leader Saru Jayaraman (“One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News) ROC United has grown to over 13,000 members across 26 cities in the US, winning 13 worker-led campaigns, totaling $7 million in stolen tips and wages.