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There are more than 200 groups like ROC across the country. They have names like Our Walmart, Warehouse Workers for Justice, and the Food Chain Workers Alliance. There are direct affiliates of ROC now operating in almost a dozen major cities.
And the group is attracting attention from some high-profile figures in the labor movement.
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, an umbrella group for dozens of major labor unions, praised Jayaraman and ROC in June during his comments at a gathering of the Labor Research Action Network in Washington, D.C.
“The Restaurant Opportunity Center has built a dynamic and expanding advocacy organization in an industry where 40 percent of the workers earn the minimum wage or less,” he said. “Saru is a real pioneer who is demanding answers to the questions that need to be asked about the future of workers.”
The AFL-CIO has entered into partnership agreements with several national networks of worker centers and created a procedure under which dozens of worker centers have affiliated with state federations of labor and central labor councils. Trumka said labor unions and work activists should try to “thicken those ties” in coming years.