At Clinton Global Initiative America, ROC United Announces Commitment to Action to Promote “High Road” in Restaurant Industry

This week Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United announced at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting its Commitment to Action to improve wages and working conditions for the more than 11 million restaurant workers across the nation through new employer-focused training programs and consumer-education initiatives.

Through RAISE (Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment), ROC United established an association of 150 restaurant owners and employers across the country committed to taking the “high road” to profitability, including livable wages, paid sick days, and building career ladders in the industry. By launching a CGI America commitment, ROC will develop a robust technical assistance and support program to support employers in pursuing the high road, which will in turn develop and grow RAISE’s membership and influence. Additionally, ROC will expand its consumer-engagement efforts to raise awareness of and expand consumer demand for “high road” practices.

“We are thrilled to be part of such a dynamic group with visionary solutions that will make a real impact on so many lives,” said Saru Jayaraman, co-director and co-founder of ROC United. “Because the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the country, promoting high-road practices effectively will help address so many of our time’s most important social problems from income inequality to racial justice and the gender wage gap, to issues of health and transparency in our food system. Although most of the country’s worst paying jobs are restaurant jobs right now, I’ve met and worked with so many restaurant employers who are already living proof that the high road works, and still more who are truly committed to taking steps toward it, that I have high hopes for what we can achieve by working together for better wages and employment practices.”

ROC’s CGI America commitment is of particular importance to women. Women, especially women of color, suffer from the worst wages and working conditions in the industry. Seventy percent of tipped restaurant workers are women who suffer from three times the poverty rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce, use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce, and suffer from the highest rates of sexual harassment of any industry in the United States.


The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 500 commitments, which have improved the lives of nearly 2.4 million people.

CGI also convenes an Annual Meeting, which brings together global leaders to take action and create positive social change, CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at


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 grown close to 14,000 worker-members across over 30 cities in the US, winning 15 worker-led campaigns, totaling $8 million in stolen tips and wages.


Contact: Anna Zuccaro,, (914) 523-9145