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Know anyone who works serving food, and what Goes On behind the Kitchen Door?

Know anyone who works serving food, and what Goes On behind the Kitchen Door?

Ratings: (0)|Views: 8|Likes:
What can consumers do?
Spread the word about this book. Speak up when you eat out around the country. Ask restaurant
employees about their working conditions, including wages and tips, and whether or not they
have paid sick leave. Let the managers of restaurants you frequent know that the working
conditions of restaurant employees is something you care about. If a restaurant is doing all the
right things by its employees, let management know that’s important to you and you’ll keep
supporting them for their efforts. We’ve created a dining guide (it’s also available as a smart
phone ap) for consumers. Let Congress know you care; sign our petition. It’s not enough just to
tip better, though that’s a nice thing to do, it’s not really the point. We’re trying to create
industry-wide, systemic change in working conditions across the country for all restaurant
employees.
What can consumers do?
Spread the word about this book. Speak up when you eat out around the country. Ask restaurant
employees about their working conditions, including wages and tips, and whether or not they
have paid sick leave. Let the managers of restaurants you frequent know that the working
conditions of restaurant employees is something you care about. If a restaurant is doing all the
right things by its employees, let management know that’s important to you and you’ll keep
supporting them for their efforts. We’ve created a dining guide (it’s also available as a smart
phone ap) for consumers. Let Congress know you care; sign our petition. It’s not enough just to
tip better, though that’s a nice thing to do, it’s not really the point. We’re trying to create
industry-wide, systemic change in working conditions across the country for all restaurant
employees.

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Published by: Joseph "Yosi" Fischer on Apr 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/14/2014

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 637 S. Victory Blvd.| Burbank, CA 91502 | Phone: (818) 567-4400 | Fax: (818) 567-4401www.fhofficesystems.com 
What Goes on Behind the Kitchen Door
By Sarah Henry on Saru Jayaraman
Behind the Kitchen Door reveals the real plight of many restaurant workers.Photo: Courtesy ROC-UnitedMost self-respecting, food-focused, restaurant-goers can wax on about the provenance of their  poultry, chat with their local produce farmer on a regular basis, or rattle off the names of severalfine-dining restaurants, the celebrity chefs who run them, and their signature dishes. Someconsumers are even on friendly terms with the waitstaff and bartenders at their regular haunts.But few diners can tell you much – if anything — about the largely invisible army of restaurantworkers who make eating out possible. With 10 million members in their ranks these employeesrepresent the largest sector of the U.S. workforce. And yet these servers, bussers, runners, cooks,and dishwashers, who are the lifeblood of many restaurants, scrape by on some of the lowestwages in America, putting food on diners’ tables at the same time they struggle to make enoughmoney to feed themselves and their families.Up until the Twin Towers fell,Saru Jayaramanhad never given much thought to the lives of restaurant workers. And then the young labor lawyer got a call from a union leader representingworkers fromWindows on the World, the restaurant that had graced the top of the World TradeCenter. After the 9/11 tragedy some 250 workers were displaced (73 of their coworkers perishedon the day) and they wanted their former boss to make good on his offer to hire them back whenhe opened a new restaurant. With the help of Jayaraman and one of the headwaiters fromWindows on the World, Fekkak Mamdouh, the restaurant workers secured new employment for several former staffers, a victory that was covered by the
 New York Times
. Jayaraman cofoundedthe nonprofitRestaurant Opportunities Center (now ROC-United)with Mamdouh, and she hasn’tstopped thinking about the working conditions and wages of restaurant workers ever since.
 
 637 S. Victory Blvd.| Burbank, CA 91502 | Phone: (818) 567-4400 | Fax: (818) 567-4401www.fhofficesystems.com 
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Saru Jayaraman, represents disadvantaged restaurantworkers. Photo: Sekou LukeJayaraman caused quite a stir in New York City, when she and her organization went up againstseveral prominent restaurateurs, including Mario Batali, whoseDel Posto restaurant settled for millions two lawsuits last year brought by ROC-United for unfair labor practices and abusiveworking conditions. (Irony alert: Batali’s restaurants have been lauded for their Slow Foodsensibility andsustainable practices, as BAB has noted.) Now the director of UC Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center , Jayaraman has written a book,
 Behind the Kitchen Door 
, exposing the dirty little secret of exploited restaurant employees andthe successful campaigns ROC-United has waged in securing a better work environment for these workers, many of whom are immigrants and people of color. Helping the disadvantaged isnothing new to Jayaraman: The Yale Law School and Harvard School of Government graduatewas recognized by former President Bill Clinton while an undergraduate at UCLA for founding amentoring program for women of color in L.A., where she grew up, the daughter of Indianimmigrants, who worked hard to make ends meet.Jayaraman, who lives in Oakland, returns to the Bay Area this week for book events includingtonight at UC Santa Cruzand tomorrow night at theDisposable Film Festival’s Just Food Dinner Screening in San Francisco, with more Bay Area dates slated for later this spring. ROC-United’sSekou Luke will discuss the book and accompanyingvideoat theSan Francisco Food and Farm Film Festivalon Saturday, March 30. While back East last week Jayaraman talked via phone toBay Area Bites about her recipe for change and the concept of sustainable labor practices alongwith sustainable food.
 
 637 S. Victory Blvd.| Burbank, CA 91502 | Phone: (818) 567-4400 | Fax: (818) 567-4401www.fhofficesystems.com 
What was the catalyst for the book?
 It’s really a call to action to everyone who eats out about what’s really happening behind thekitchen door in many restaurants around the country. People want to eat ethically — look at theimpact brought about by books likeMichael Pollan‘s
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
andEricSchlosser ‘s
 Fast Food Nation
. Consumers spoke up and restaurants changed their menus. We’reseeking the same thing for restaurant workers in terms of working conditions and wages. It’s notenough for diners to care about the food they eat and how the animals were treated. It’simportant to care about the well-being of the people who cook and serve the food too.
What don’t diners know about restaurant workers?
 Since 1996, the national minimum wage for tipped workers has been frozen at $2.13 an hour.The National Restaurant Associationhas done a good job lobbying to keep the minimum wagefor tipped restaurant workers low, and they want diners to stay in the dark on this score, it’s avery purposeful move on their part. For many Americans restaurants are their second kitchens; asa culture, we eat out more than any other country, and many of us celebrate significant

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