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Saru Jayaraman

Author and Activist

As a co-founder and director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United), Saru Jayaraman is dedicated to improving wages and working conditions for the over ten million restaurant workers in the United States. She helped to create the organization in the aftermath of the Sept. 11th attacks, together with displaced workers from Windows on the World, the restaurant that topped the World Trade Center. Since then, the group has launched several workplace justice campaigns, conducted research and policy work, partnered with responsible restaurants and launched several cooperatively-owned restaurants. The work of ROC, which now boasts 10,000 members in almost 20 cities nationwide, is chronicled in the book The Accidental American.

Jayaraman, who is also Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkley, has been profiled in The New York Times, was named one of Crain’s “40 under 40” and listed as one of New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City.

She is a co-editor of The New Urban Immigrant Workforce and the author of the recently released, Behind the Kitchen Door, an exposé of the invisible restaurant labor force.  She is a graduate of Yale Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.