Cross-posted from the Yes! Magazine blog.
You are celebrating your birthday at your favorite restaurant and you’ve just ordered a tasty, locally grown organic meal. You savor the food, while feeling good that you are contributing to a better world. What could be better?
Well, for starters: the conditions of the people serving and busing your table.Most don’t make a living wage. Indeed, most of your servers work for the same minimum wage they’ve gotten for 22 years: $2.13 an hour. That’s right: no increase for a generation. Therefore, most workers have no choice but to work if they’re sick because nine out of ten don’t receive paid sick leave. Yes, if you are reading this now because you’re sick at home, you may well have caught your disease from a sick restaurant employee who had no choice but to work.
There is a new chilling-yet-ultimately-hopeful book that tells the story of the millions who toil to serve us in restaurants: Behind the Kitchen Door. It is hopeful because its dynamo author, Saru Jayaraman, and dozens of courageous restaurant workers created a group that is fighting for their rights: the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC).