Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago (CHI ROC)
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago (CHI ROC) is a restaurant workers' center. With manufacturing jobs disappearing from Chicago, the service sector is becoming increasingly significant, and within it the restaurant industry, as the anchor of the City's tourism and entertainment industry, is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Chicago economy. There are 250,000 restaurant jobs in the Chicagoland area and while this high-profile industry grows rapidly in Chicago and provides some living-wage jobs, particularly in fine-dining restaurants, the largely immigrant and people of color workforce is generally not able to access those jobs, due to discrimination and occupational segregation. We use our successful sectoral approach to focus organizing efforts on the Chicago restaurant industry, and both provide opportunity for workers to move up career ladders and transform bad jobs into good jobs throughout the industry. The ROC model uses a multi-pronged strategy to accomplish this goal, which includes workplace justice organizing, research and policy work, promoting 'high-road' models, and training workers so they may advance to living-wage jobs in the industry (we currently offer training in bartending and fine dining front of the house). CHI ROC is a member led organization through and through, we have a growing leadership board that makes organizational decisions and four separate worker committees (women's, training, policy, and worker justice) that make programmatic decisions.