Chicago Lead Organizer

Job Type

Full Time


Details: Commensurate with experience.




1 North State Street
United States


Chicago, Illinois– LEAD ORGANIZER

September 12, 2018

About ROC-United:

Founded initially after September 11th, 2001, the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC United) has grown into a national organization with ten established chapters and a joint membership of more than 25,000 low-wage restaurant worker members, 300 restaurant employer members, and several thousand consumer members. Over the last 15 years, we have won more than twenty workplace justice campaigns, winning more than $10 million in misappropriated tips and wages and discrimination payments for low-wage workers, and significant policy changes in high-profile fine dining restaurant companies covering thousands of workers. We have partnered with 300 responsible restaurant owners to promote the 'high road' to profitability, and trained more than 5,000 restaurant workers to advance to livable wage jobs within the industry. We have also published forty ground-breaking reports on the restaurant industry, obtaining significant media coverage, led statewide and local minimum wage increases and paid sick days legislation, and initiated other policy campaigns at the local, state, and federal level. We own and operate restaurants called COLORS that serve as the home base for our workforce-development training and membership programs in New York and Detroit, and will be expanding COLORS to New Orleans, Washington DC, and Oakland during 2018.

About ROC-Chicago:

           The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago (ROC-CHI) is an affiliate worker center of ROC-United that was founded in 2008. We have over 3,000 worker members and restaurant employers throughout the Chicagoland area, with a growing number in the state of Illinois. Our center’s aim is to improve wages and working conditions in the restaurant industry to bring about just and dignified workplaces. Currently we focus on the following: (1) We operate a workforce program through our COLORS Hospitality Opportunity for Workers (CHOW) institute, training more than 100 workers annually; (2) Organizing low-wage immigrant and workers of color in restaurant workplace justice campaigns; (3) Partnering with government agencies, workers centers, labor organizations, and legal advocates to enforce and improve upon labor laws. (4) Building for a state-wide policy campaign, One Fair Wage, to address the income inequities resulting from the subminimum wage.

We are looking to hire a dedicated senior-level organizer to support the build up and launch of ROC-CHi’s campaign, One Fair Wage. The Lead Organizer will lead workplace organizing campaigns, the One Fair Wage campaign, provide member services including legal referral assistance, support fundraising and grant development, train and supervise at least 1 full time staff organizer and several member organizers, and develop worker leaders to support coalition and alliance work at the local, state and national levels.


Under the supervision of the ROC-United Affiliate Director, the ROC Chicago Lead Organizer will be responsible for:

One Fair Wage Campaign (50% of time)

1)    Advance a OFW campaign in IL

a)    Help to develop and implement the overall campaign strategy;

b)    Lead campaign activities including lobbying, direct actions, public testimony at hearings, defending against opposition attacks, phone banking, doorknocking, etc.

c)    Identify and recruit worker leaders to form a OFW Worker Leader Committee to lead the OFW campaign.

d)    Publicly speak on the OFW efforts before policymakers, press and allies.

e)    Foster and maintain partnerships with government and/or legal entities to support the campaign as needed.

2)    Coalition/Alliance Work

a)    Develop partnerships to build a strong coalition to advance OFW in Illinois.

b)    Serve on the board of the Raise the Floor Alliance (RTF, an alliance of Chicago worker centers). Assume the responsibilities of board member and representing the best interests of our worker center:

                                          i)        Participate and support the strategic planning activities of RTF in 2019.

                                         ii)        This will include activating a core of member leader to participate in an RTF planning process.

3)    Grow and develop ROC-CHI’s worker membership and leadership:

a)    Conduct weekly street outreach to recruit members, and train and develop worker leaders to do the same;

b)    Engage members to support coalition and RTF Alliance work;

c)    Ensure that members are provided regular leadership development opportunities and moved up the ladder of engagement

d)    Develop workplace justice campaigns to win changes at high profile restaurants, and train worker leaders to lead these campaigns utilizing legal and direct action strategies;

e)    Provide KYR training to workers;

f)     Help workers identify, prepare and/or file legal claims;

g)    Working with ROC-United’s Communications Director, lead ROC-CHI’s media advocacy and communications strategy to amplify the organization’s work and engage workers online;

Oversee ROC-CHI’s RAISE and CHOW Training Programs (10%)

1)    Support the ROC-CHI Organizer in growing our employer base through our employer organization, RAISE:

a)    Develop a yearly plan for connecting employers to the organizing and campaign related work.

b)    Connecting employers with our CHOW Institute. Either through employment opportunities or by offering training’s that ROC provides to them as “in-house”.

c)    Supporting the Restaurant Employer Manual project by engaging employer to participate in reviewing and endorsing.

2)    Support the ROC-CHI Organizer to grow the CHOW Institute:

a)    Support the development of the CHOW Institute Curricula

b)    Support the development of relationships and signing of MOU’s with partner organization to utilize facilities that further our larger mission.

c)    Support key staff in the running of day to day activities and planning for the year to graduate 100 workers from the CHOW Institute.

                                          i)        Placement, tracking, and support for participants.

                                         ii)        Support the planning of graduation and celebrations related to CHOW.

                                        iii)        Coordinating Organizing Activities with CHOW so that participants have options to participate further with ROC-CHI outside of workforce development.

Administrative (20%)

1)    Develop the annual budget and workplan and participate in a strategic planning process beginning in mid-2019

2)    Maintaining accurate records and assuring protocols are being followed.

a)    Security related.

b)    Communications related

c)     Management and Staff Union Records

d)    Time documentation and adhering to 501c3 lobbying rules.

e)    Organization Database Records, i.e. assuring all membership information and organizing data are entered into the database in a timely manner.

3)    Supervise at least 1 organizer and several member organizers:

a)    develop comprehensive staff workplans, manage sustainable workloads, conduct quarterly and yearly staff evaluations;

b)    training and education, including on-the-job coaching as well as identifying professional development opportunities;

c)     administrative tasks as required to ensure smooth operational support.

Development (20%)

1)    Lead local fundraising efforts including:

a)    Identifying and securing new funding sources;

b)    Planning and conducting funder site visits;

c)    Planning and executing fundraising events;

d)    Training member leaders to support and eventually lead local fundraising efforts.

2)    Support national development team in maintaining existing funders and attaining new funding sources for our affiliate.

a)    Identifying new funding sources

b)    Provide input and information for grant writers

c)    Serving as the local contact for foundations, and participating in foundation related activities as needed.


●     At least 4 years of labor/community member organizing and base-building experience;

●     Demonstrated success in worker leadership development; you excel in mentoring people to be their own heroes and agents of their own liberation. You love engaging people in political discussions and are comfortable taking responsibility for the development of political consciousness of others;

●     Demonstrated commitment to racial, social, and economic justice; and significant experience working collaboratively with persons of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status, ages, genders, and sexual orientations;

●     Experience with coalition-building;

●     Experience with policy campaigns;Strong Working knowledge of labor laws and relevant government agencies

●     Strong communication, diplomacy, leadership, and management skills;

●     Maintenance of a professional attitude and strong ethical practice and willingness to learn and grow;

●     Willingness to travel and work nights/weekends;

●     Proficiency in oral and written spanish; and

●     Restaurant work experience a plus.

Working Conditions: Organizers are required to work long and irregular hours including work on weekends and holidays as necessary. The work of an organizer necessitates flexibility as demands and priorities for a particular campaign or the overall organization shift. It is expected that organizers be available during the times that workers in their assigned area are available at their work site, home or another locale. You may be required to travel extensively.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience.

To apply:

Please send cover letter and resume detailing your qualifications to . Please place the title of the position in the subject line of your email.

Women, people of color, people with disabilities / disabled people, Trans* & Gender Queer/Gender Variant people, LGBTIQ, and immigrants are strongly encouraged to apply.


Featured benefits include health and dental insurance.

Level of Language Proficiency

 Proficiency in oral and written spanish

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

Please send cover letter and resume detailing your qualifications to . Please place the title of the position in the subject line of your email.