“Behind the Kitchen Door” Author Encourages Diners to Speak Out

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In this week’s show, activist and author Saru Jayaraman marches on Washington with restaurant workers struggling to make ends meet, and talks about how we can support their fight for better working conditions and a fair wage. She hopes viewers will speak out to help food service industry workers get the paychecks, health care and sick days they deserve, but often don’t receive.

“If consumers asked, every time they ate out, or said to the management, ‘Love the food, love the service, I would love to see you provide paid sick days, as a consumer that’s important to me,’ or ‘I would love to see you do better on your wages, not pay $2.13,’ just before leaving, we feel like that could make a tremendous difference in moving the industry,” says Jayaraman.

Jayaraman is co-founder and director of The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an organization that works to improve wages and working conditions for restaurant workers. For consumers, ROC publishes a guide to ethical eating, which lets you know which restaurants in your area treat their workers fairly. For restaurant workers, ROC provides job training, legal and organizing support. There’s also a free mobile version available for iPhone or Android. You can also visit thewelcometable.net to learn more. Restaurant owners and workers, also check out the Restaurant Worker Health Care Cooperative, which provides uninsured restaurant workers with timely, direct access to basic medical care at a low, reasonable cost.

Watch the full interview with Jayaraman on this weekend’s Moyers & Company.

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