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Behind the Kitchen Door: A Must-Read for Anyone Who Eats at Restaurants

February 27, 2013 ·

More than half of the nation's worst-paid jobs are related to food. Saru Jayaraman's new book dives into the explosive movement for better rights for those who plant, process, and cook the food we eat.

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.

Behind the Kitchen Door, by Saru JayaramanMost 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).

Read the rest of this book review on Yes! Magazine's website.


John Cavanagh
IPS Director

Fellow
Global Economy