ROC United:


Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) of Michigan

Policy and Research Organizer for ROC Michigan:

ROC-Michigan is hiring an experienced organizer who is committed to working with restaurant workers to promote economic and social justice through public policy campaigns.  As part of a state and national team, the Policy and Research Organizer will be directly leading efforts to engage and empower our members, allies and restaurant workers on both state and national campaigns.

Organization Background:

Founded initially after September 11th, 2001, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) is rapidly growing national organization with over 10,000 low-wage restaurant worker members in ten locations. From 2001 until 2008, our work was focused in New York City, and achieved great success in impact for restaurant workers. In summer 2007, ROC-NY hosted the nation’s first national restaurant worker convening, and the national organization, ROC-United, was born. In January 2008, the co-founders of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) left the local organization in the hands of former members and restaurant workers, and went on to launch ROC-United.

Over the last eleven years, we have won more than ten workplace justice campaigns, winning more than $5 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 more than 50 responsible restaurant owners to promote the ‘high road’ to profitability, and to train more than 2500 restaurant workers to advance to livable wage jobs within the industry. We have also published fifteen ground-breaking reports on the restaurant industry, obtaining significant media coverage, played an instrumental role in winning a statewide minimum wage increase for tipped workers, and initiated other policy campaigns at the local, state, and federal level. We have organized restaurant workers to open COLORS Restaurants in New York and Detroit that support workforce development as well as cooperative worker ownership.

Since January 2008 we have launched affiliates in New Orleans, Miami, Michigan, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington, DC., the San Francisco Bay Area, and Boston. In each region, we conduct workplace justice campaigns, partner with ‘high road’ restaurants to conduct advance restaurant workforce development programs, and collaborate with local academics and other allies to produce comprehensive participatory research and policy initiatives. Nationally, we organize convenings of restaurant workers, Congressional briefings, public fora, and more. In these ways, ROC continues to build power and voice for low-wage restaurant workers at the local, state, and federal levels.

ROC-United worked with local residents to launch ROC-Michigan (ROC-MI) in 2008, to organize restaurant workers in Detroit, MI.  ROC-MI has over 1,300 members and engages in workplace justice, research and public policy campaigns, and workforce development work, including operating a non-profit restaurant (COLORS) and a cooperative business incubator program.  Our offices are located in Detroit, MI.

Responsibilities include:

  • Organize worker-led policy campaigns including: engaging in relationship building and individual meetings with restaurant workers, establishing timelines, building coalitions and partnerships, strategic and power-mapping, coordinating petition-drives, organizing direct actions and events, and conducting trainings to educate members on how to become advocates, organizers and leaders;
  • Drive local, state and federal policy campaigns policy campaigns: including supporting efforts to raise the minimum wage and secure earned paid sick days for all employees;
  • Mobilize restaurant workers from diverse ethnic communities and allies to support policy campaigns;
  • Organize & mobilize a worker-led committees to lead policy campaigns;
  • In coordination with other staff, spotlight and mobilize employers to support policy campaigns;
  • Coordinate visits with legislators and other decision-makers in support of ROC’s policy priorities;
  • Increase membership of impacted restaurant workers through extensive outreach and recruitment;
  • Participate in developing a regular schedule of outreach and engagement to build membership;
  • Develop leadership and political consciousness amongst restaurant workers through trainings, relationship building, and shared experiences; implement political education curriculum;
  • Carry out participatory research projects and plan report release events;
  • Represent ROC to partners and allies; build coalitions with allies within the context of policy campaigns;
  • Carry out all organizing work in a way that builds the organization’s membership and leadership base;
  • Assist with administrative duties and other responsibilities as needed.


  • Passionate commitment to community/multi-racial organizing and social, economic and racial justice
  • Ability to quickly adapt and problem-solve in a rapidly changing political environment
  • Experience in community, political or social movement organizing with a demonstrated capacity to mobilize a racially diverse group of workers/community members/ and other stake-holders
  • Strong organizational skills, including the ability to work independently and manage own projects
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong understanding of politics in Detroit and Michigan
  • Experience in developing plans to support goal-orientated work
  • Candidate has a personal and professional vision for change
  • Must have a flexible schedule to accommodate weekend and evening hours
  • Possess reliable transportation
  • Restaurant experience a plus
  • Basic computer and Microsoft office skills desired
  • Language skills other than English a plus
  • Bachelor’s or higher degree a plus (not mandatory)

The Public Policy & Research Organizer will report to the National Policy Director, with local guidance and day-to-day support from the ROC-Michigan Director


Competitive benefits and compensation plan offered; based on experience.

To Apply:

Please send cover letter and resume detailing your qualifications to by March 7th, 2014.  Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

Immigrants, women, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

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