Food movement leaders tend to stick to their specific issues, whether it’s advocating for healthy food, fighting for workers’ rights or curbing marketing to children. For each of these issues, there are numerous food corporations that need to change. But there is one organization that conveniently provides us with one giant target for all of them: the National Restaurant Association.
Posts Tagged ‘labor’
The Other NRA: National Restaurant Association eviscerates the rights of customers, workers, and children
It seems both ironic and fitting that while most Americans are obsessed with food for the Thanksgiving holiday, this week also marks International Food Workers Week, organized by the Food Chain Workers Alliance.
While many large restaurant chains and other sectors of the food industry bear responsibility for mistreating their workers, recently, McDonald’s has engaged in a series of jaw-dropping and idiotic communications with its workforce. Each one is a painful reminder of how impossible it is to live on fast-food wages.
In my ongoing effort to bring more attention to the plight of food workers, following is a guest post by Sally Smyth, a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, where she is researching retail jobs with the Food Labor Research Center, which is directed by Saru Jayaraman, author of Behind the Kitchen Door.
This week I’ve been writing about the National Restaurant Association (the other NRA) and why we should care about food workers, in part to bring attention to the new book Behind the Kitchen Door by labor advocate Saru Jayaraman. Today I want to offer practical resources for how to help improve the lives of the 20 million food workers who help us put food on our own tables every day.
This week, with the release of Saru Jayaraman’s new book, Behind the Kitchen Door, I’ve been writing about the powerful influence of the National Restaurant Association, for example, in lobbying against paid sick days for workers. Sadly, most of my colleagues in public health and the good food movement don’t pay enough attention to the many injustices workers face every day. So here is my attempt to help correct that situation.
As I explained yesterday, I am writing one post per day this week to being attention to the new book by food labor rights advocate Saru Jayaraman, Behind the Kitchen Door. The book brings much-needed attention to the 10 million restaurant workers who toil everyday over our meals, often for slave wages. The National Restaurant Association (the other NRA) is largely responsible for lobbying to keep the federal tipped minimum wage at a paltry $2.13 an hour. Unfortunately, the topic of worker rights never came up in the speech the first lady gave to the NRA in September of 2010.
The most under-reported and neglected aspect of the good food movement is the 20 million workers who toil every day—often under inhumane conditions—harvesting fields, killing and cutting up animals, packing boxes, driving trucks, cooking meals, ringing up orders, serving tables, and cleaning up the mess. Recognizing this reality is the idea behind International Food Workers Week hosted by the Food Chain Workers Alliance, during which numerous actions are being held, including solidarity with the striking Walmart workers planned for Black Friday.