Sunday, January 26, 2014

ROC United Issues its Latest Propaganda Piece---the "2014 Diners' Guide to Ethical Eating"

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United ("ROC"), with offices in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, D.C., identifies itself as a national intermediary that helps initiate Restaurant Opportunities Centers around the country.  According to its website, ROC uses tactics including organizing workers, litigation, and public pressure to achieve its version of "Workplace Justice."  

ROC contends its mission includes: (1) raising the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour over the next three years, and the tipped minimum wage from $2.13 to 70% of the regular minimum wage; (2) guaranteeing workers a minimum number of paid sick days; and (3) ending what it refers to as "occupational segregation."  

For the past few years, ROC has published its Diners' Guide to Ethical Eating, which purports to rank restaurants from the top 100 highest revenue-grossing restaurants in the United States, in five categories:  ROC partner, tipped wages, non-tipped wages, paid sick days and internal promotion.  ROC's rankings are based on information allegedly gathered by university students from phone calls to corporate and local restaurant offices about their pay, sick leave and promotion practices.

ROC recently issued its 2014 ROC National Diners' Guide to Ethical Eating.  Notably absent from the Guide is any specific information regarding the data collection process, such as which restaurant locations were contacted and when, whether the interviewees were authorized to speak on behalf of the restaurant, and whether any corporate representative for a particular restaurant confirmed any findings or conclusions.  Also absent from the Guide is any information regarding whether employees were interviewed about their satisfaction with their working conditions, and whether and how any biases were eliminated. While ROC's website includes a number of its publications, it does not include the research data to support the Guide's rankings.