Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) of New York

Award Recipients - 2003

Saru Jayaraman, Fekkak Mamdouh, & Shulaika La Cruz, Co-Founders

Rekha Eanni-Rodriguez & Sekou Siby, Co-Directors

The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) is a membership-based center organizing for improved conditions for immigrant restaurant workers in New York City.  While initially created to support the hundreds of displaced restaurant workers and victim’s families from the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center, ROC-NY has emerged as a dynamic organization with a focus on organizing and training immigrant workers to engage in workplace and economic justice campaigns.  Dedicated to winning better conditions for restaurant workers, raising public recognition for their contributions and creating a labor-friendly climate, ROC-NY has grown to 600 members; 95% are immigrants and people of color.  

After September 11th, Local 100 Hotels and Restaurant Employees hired former Windows on the World employees to assist with the immediate effects of the tragedy.  Seeing the need for a permanent support structure, the workers decided to create an independent non-profit organization with a worker-led board to address their needs.  An eight-week English as a Second Language series covers topics such as finance, investing, working with lawyers and workplace rights.  Upon completion, workers become members and meet weekly to find jobs and organize social justice campaigns that have won jobs, reinstatement to jobs and back wages.  ROC-NY has also organized displaced workers to launch their own cooperatively-owned restaurant, which is expected to open in 2004.

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