"Americans overwhelmingly support better conditions for restaurant workers," including better pay and paid sick leave, according to a new survey released by the National Consumers League.
But thanks to lobbying by the National Restaurant Association, U.S. labor regulations for restaurant workers haven't kept up with popular opinion. The federal tipped minimum wage, currently $2.13 an hour, has not increased in 22 years.
In her new book Behind the Kitchen Door: What Every Diner Should Know About the People Who Feed Us, Saru Jayaraman follows the lives of restaurant workers in nine U.S. cities. Using investigative journalism and personal narrative, she reveals the low wages, discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary working conditions that restaurant workers face every day.
"Behind the Kitchen Door is an eye-popping book about restaurant industry practices that brings new meaning to the notion of ethical eating," writes reviewer Penny Pleasance in the New York Journal of Books.
To garner public support for meaningful reforms, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is asking supporters to commit to buying a copy of Behind the Kitchen Door between February 11 and 23. Please join the effort to help put the book on the bestseller list.
On Sunday, February 24 from 4 to 5 p.m. EST, the UUSC is hosting a real-time, interactive conversation with Saru Jayaraman about choosing compassionate consumption when dining out. Register here to join the event.
Jayaraman is founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, an organization committed to improving wages and working conditions for the nation's low-wage restaurant work force.