The Great Service Divide
The Great Service Divide: Occupational Segregation & Inequality in the NYC Restaurant Industry was published in early 2009. To complete the report, ROC-NY used several methods of research, including interviews and focus groups with workers and employers, demographic canvassing, census analysis and survey wage analysis. In addition, we used matched pair testing, sending 37 testers in two-person teams to 137 fine-dining Manhattan restaurants.
We found that testers of color, despite having similar qualifications to their white partners, were only 55% as likely as their partners to receive a job offer - and were, in general, less likely to be interviewed in the first place. In addition, there were significant disparities in earnings based on gender, race and country of origin.
Based on our findings, ROC-NY reccomended that New York City restaurants work to change the industry's cultre of informality and discrimination, through formal practices for recruitment and promotion(including clear and explicit criteria), clear communication of company policies and grievance procedures.
Dining Out, Dining Healthy
We published Dining Out, Dining Healthy in 2006, based on 300 surveys of workers and numerous worker interviews. The report demonstrated that the same restaurant owners that violate employment laws also create unhealthy conditions for consumers. On the basis of this report , the ROC-NY Policy Committee worked with the New York City Council to develop local legislation to compel the City Department of Health to consider employment law violations in granting City Operating Licenses to restaurants. On March 31, 2008, ROC-NY members, staff, and allies packed the City Council Department of Health hearing on the Responsible Restaurant Act.
Behind the Kitchen Door
In 2005, ROC-NY published Behind the Kitchen Door: Pervasive Inequality in New York City's Thriving Restaurant Industry. The study showed that the restaurant industry has become the largest private sector employer nationwide, and the fastest growing sector of the economy in New York City. However, while the industry provides a gateway of opportunity to thousands of new entrants into the workforce annually, it is not providing workers with enough income to support their families. Unfortunately, while revenue in the restaurant industry continues to grow, restaurant workers' wages have stagnated at a median annual income of $20,000 per year over the last twenty years.
The report also found that:
- 80% of all workers are earning low wages,
- 60% of all workers are earning poverty wages;
- There is pervasive non-payment of overtime wages and tip-stealing
- There is a high incidence of accidents and injuries on the job, little or no benefits, and discriminatory practices that prevent workers from obtaining certain positions.