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March 16, 2017


Tim Rusch,, (917) 399-0236

Sian Lewis,, (202) 601-3999



Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) Denounces Budget Cuts to Vital Programs and Services Affecting Restaurant Workers and all People in the United States

WASHINGTON, DC, NEW YORK — Today, in response to the White House’s 2018 budget proposal, Saru Jayaraman and Fekkak Mamdouh, Co-Founders and Co-Directors of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, stated:

“The White House 2018 budget proposal is in opposition to President Trump’s duty to enhance the welfare of the American people. On behalf of the nation’s 12 million restaurant workers, we vehemently oppose the drastic budget cuts proposed by the Trump Administration on the grounds that they harm the most vulnerable people in our nation.  At ROC United, we stand for better wages and working conditions for restaurant workers, the largest and lowest-paid workforce in America. Therefore, we stand with the hundreds of other groups and millions of Americans calling for an immediate halt to any budget cuts that would harm the most vulnerable people of America.

As representatives low-wage workers, we denounce cuts to Medicaid, Community Block Grants and other wraparound services. As representatives of food chain workers, we are particularly disturbed by the proposed budget cuts to the Department of Agriculture (20.7%), the Environmental Protection Agency (31.4%) and, slated for the largest cuts of any agency, the Department of Labor (20.7%). The restaurant industry, rife with wage-and-theft violations, boasts the highest rate of sexual harassment and has the highest need for labor law enforcement.

Because the restaurant industry has most of the lowest paid jobs in the U.S. with the highest rates of labor violations, we need more funding, not more.

Make no mistake, we view these cuts as a major step backward. The simple truth is as follows:


  • Restaurant workers need affordable health care benefits.
  • Restaurant workers need child care grants for a workforce with unpredictable schedules.
  • The restaurant industry needs more, not less enforcement from the Department of Labor.
  • America needs more job training programs provided by the Department of Labor, not less
  • Worker safety must be prioritized
  • Low-wage workers need affordable housing, legal services, and utility assistance.
  • All workers need to make a livable wage, with access to safety net services if they cannot

Conclusively, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United believes that the proposed budget cuts harm restaurant workers and vulnerable people in the U.S. We call on the White House to reverse the proposed budget, and enhance the welfare of people all people.”


ABOUT RESTAURANT OPPORTUNITIES CENTERS UNITED.ORG: 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 nearly 25,000 worker-members, 200 restaurant employer members, and several thousand consumer members in 15 states in the U.S., winning 15 worker-led campaigns, recovering $10 million in stolen tips and wages. Read more about Saru Jayaraman’s new book Forked: A New Standard for American Dining at