About the Food Labor Research Center
The Food Labor Research Center was launched in fall 2012 by Saru Jayaraman as a project of the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley. As a leader in the movement for food worker justice, Saru saw a gap in the study of the intersection of food and labor. While there are several University centers that focus on labor studies, and others that focus on food studies, the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley is the first academic institution anywhere in the country to focus on the intersection between food and labor issues in the U.S. and abroad.
Director, Food Labor Research Center
Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC in New York, which has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants. ROC now has 10,000 members in 19 cities nationwide. The story of Saru and her co-founder's work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American. 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, and was named one of Crain's "40 Under 40" in 2008, 1010 WINS's "Newsmaker of the Year," and one of New York Magazine's "Influentials" of New York City. Saru co-edited The New Urban Immigrant Workforce, (ME Sharpe, 2005) and authored Behind the Kitchen Door, forthcoming from Cornell University Press.