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Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:16pm
Fri Jun 12

Report: Low Wages In Full-Service Restaurant Industry Cost Taxpayers $9.4 Billion Annually

Many full-service restaurant industry workers are forced to seek public aid to supplement their low wages and lack of benefits, and that leaves U.S. taxpayers with a $9.4 billion tab each year.

That's according to a recent report by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC). The restaurant worker advocacy group found that nearly half of the more than 4 million full-service restaurant workers live in households enrolled in at least one public assistance program.

Of that $9.4 billion, $1.4 billion represents the public cost of low-end pay and benefits provided at the country's five largest full-service restaurant companies, which collectively earned $704 million in profits and paid their chief executives $27 million in the last year alone, according to ROC.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:39pm
Tue Nov 11, 2014

Chicagoans Rally For Economic Justice, Policies To Support Working Families (VIDEO)

Hundreds of Chicagoans hit the city's downtown streets Tuesday afternoon to rally for economic justice. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the "Take Back Chicago" march and rally.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:22pm
Thu Oct 16, 2014

Report: Sexual Harassment Widespread In The Restaurant Industry

Many restaurant employees face frequent sexual harassment on the job from managers, co-workers and customers. 

That's according to a recent survey and report by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Forward Together, which found that 66 percent of female and more than half of male restaurant employees experienced sexual harassment at some point from a work superior.

The survey of 688 current and former restaurant workers in 39 states also showed that 80 percent of women and 70 percent of men faced sexual harassment at the hands of co-workers. Sexual teasing, inappropriate touching and sexually suggestive gestures are some of the harassment examples cited by workers, who were surveyed May through August of this year.

Among other troubling findings, nearly 80 percent of women and 55 percent of men reported being harassed by restaurant customers while at work.

"Our report finds that sexual harassment is absolutely systemic across the restaurant industry and is experienced by a majority of workers, but the heaviest impact is borne by women, trans people, tipped workers and workers in states that allow employers to pay tipped workers as little as $2.13 an hour," said Eveline Shen, executive director of Forward Together, a social advocacy organization.
 
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:16pm
Mon Sep 15, 2014

Report: Wage Theft Costs U.S. Workers Billions Of Dollars Annually (UPDATED)

The "widespread" problem of wage theft in America might be costing U.S. workers more than $50 billion annually, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

EPI researchers came to the $50 billion estimate based on the findings of a separate, 2008 survey of front-line workers in low-wage industries in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. In the three major cities, workers in low-wage industries experienced close to $3 billion in total annual wage theft, which includes paying employees less than the minimum wage and failing to pay for overtime.

"Survey evidence suggests that wage theft is widespread and costs workers billions of dollars a year, a transfer from low-income employees to business owners that worsens income inequality, hurts workers and their families, and damages the sense of fairness and justice that a democracy needs to survive," the EPI report states. "If these findings in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are generalizable to the rest of the U.S. low-wage workforce of 30 million, wage theft is costing workers more than $50 billion a year."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:46pm
Tue Aug 26, 2014

New #WEmatter Twitter Campaign Amplifies Women's Economic Security Woes

Organizations and individuals across the country are taking to social media on Tuesday as part of a new campaign to promote policies designed to strengthen the economic security of women and families.

The launch of the social media movement coincides with Women's Equality Day, which marks the anniversary of women winning the right to vote on August 26, 1920. 

Those participating in the campaign are organizing under the hashtag "WEmatter" on Twitter and other social media outlets.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:22pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Report Sheds Light On Taxpayer Subsidies For Restaurant CEO Pay

Some of the largest corporate members of the National Restaurant Association have pulled in hefty taxpayer subsidies for CEO pay at the same time the industry lobbying group has advocated against measures to increase the minimum wage for workers, a recent report from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies shows. Progress Illinois takes a look at the report's findings.