TEDxManhattan Heroes: Saru Jayaraman

As TEDxManhattan 2014 approaches, we've asked this year's speakers to introduce themselves by answering a few questions. Today we feature Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United).

What's the topic you'll be speaking about?

Labor in the restaurant industry, specifically regarding wages, discrimination, ROC United's national campaign to raise standards, and the roles that workers, employers and consumers have in affecting change.

The restaurant industry is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the country, but its labor practices are widely misunderstood and under-discussed.

Why is this important?

The restaurant industry is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the country, but its labor practices are widely misunderstood and under-discussed.

What other projects are you passionate about right now – either yours or someone else's?

Our new online campaign, Living Off Tips, is a platform for tipped restaurant workers to share stories of what it's like to live off tips. There's not really a medium that lifts up the realities of restaurant workers at the moment, and we instead hear about what restaurant work is like from corporate executives and the industry lobby (the National Restaurant Association). The scope of people who have come through or still work for tips at a restaurant is enormous, and they vote. This campaign will put the stories of restaurant workers on a more national scale, also educating the public and press about the reality of the industry, hopefully affecting change like raising the tipped minimum wage.

Which other 2014 TEDxManhattan speakers are you excited about hearing? Which talks from previous years did you particularly enjoy?

I'm excited to hear from everyone!

Where can more information about your project be found?

rocunited.org

livingofftips.com


TEDxManhattan, "Changing the Way We Eat,," will take place March 1, 2014 at the TimesCenter in New York City. Interested in joining the day? You can apply to attend, or host or attend a viewing party. For more information, please visit http://www.tedxmanhattan.org/.

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