Home > What Could Possibly Go Right? Interview Series > Episode 1: Saru Jayaraman: Extraordinary Moment of Opportunity

June 25, 2020

Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage, shares insight into the current perfect opportunity for wage change in the food service industry, including:

  • How the pandemic has laid bare the troubles with tips-based pay structures, such as the ineligibility of many service workers to qualify for unemployment benefits due to sub-minimum wages.
  • How the shut down during the pandemic is allowing for reconfiguration and reimagining of the restaurant industry.
  • That employers are now more willing than ever to move towards a full livable minimum wage for their workers.
  • Treating those in the food industry as other skilled professionals with livable wages and not reliance on tips.
  • The realization of consumers about how essential our service workers are and the role diners can play in encouraging restaurant owners towards positive change.

About Saru Jayaraman

Saru Jayaraman is the President of One Fair Wage, Co-Founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, was 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year” and New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She was listed in CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Her most recent book is Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016). She attended the Golden Globes in January 2018 with Amy Poehler as part of the Times Up action to address sexual harassment. In 2019, she was named the San Francisco Chronicle Visionary of the Year.

One Fair Wage | ROC United | Food Labor Research Center

Download the transcript here.