October 14, 2015

CONTACT: Andrea Alford, 703-477-1075,

ROC United Responds to Union Square Hospitality Group’s New “Hospitality Included” Policy

The following statement should be attributed to Saru Jayaraman, co-director and co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) :

 Today’s announcement from founder and CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), Danny Meyer, to end tipping, raise wages for both kitchen and dining-room employees, and increase career-advancement opportunities for the company’s 1,800 employees sets a powerful example for New York restaurants and beyond. We are proud to note that USHG has been a member of ROC’s employer association RAISE for many years.

 ROC applauds efforts by all restaurant employers to explore wage structures that aim to pay employees a fair, stable base wage, helping to mitigate the problematic system that is inherent in the tipping model. Across the country, tipped workers struggle to make ends meet, as their income is made up almost entirely of customers’ tips rather than a wage from their employers. Nationally, tipped workers — whom are more than two-thirds women — use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the workforce, and are three-times as likely to live in poverty. In fact, ROC’s research has revealed that 90% of women tipped workers report experiencing sexual harassment on the job, and tipped workers in states with a tipped minimum wage as low as $2.13/hour — the federal rate for tipped workers since 1991– are twice as likely to experience sexual harassment than their counterparts in states with One Fair Wage.

 ROC United congratulates Danny Meyer on his decision, and in particular his transparency about how workers will be paid and made whole through this system.  We hope others in the restaurant industry will follow suit. These forward-looking employers who are taking the high road to profitability through policies that ensure a living wage for employees will show the nation that dignity and profitability are not mutually-exclusive ideas at America’s restaurants. In fact, eliminating the two-tiered wage system is essential to ensuring a fair and just future for the nation’s 11 million restaurant workers.


Co-founded by leading workers’ rights advocate Saru Jayaraman (“One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News) ROC United has grown to 18,000 worker members across over 30 cities in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $10 million in stolen tips and wages.