ROC Michigan is located at 311 E. Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI. 48226
Phone: 313-962-5020

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The legendary Mr. C is hard at work helping ROC Michigan build an equitable and inclusive industry for all Detroiters, with a fantastic introductory Bartender Course on Mondays and Wednesdays!
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News from the Restaurant Opportunity Center of Michigan


Michigan One Fair Wage is on a mission to make sure that every working person in Michigan can take care of themselves and their families. We want to raise the minimum wage to $12, including servers, bartenders and others who make the lower subminimum wage.
Thanks to Larry Lipton, of Indivisible, for the photo of the Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice (SEMJWJ) May 11 door-to-door distribution in Sterling Heights for One Fair Wage. Thanks to UAW Local 228 for making their hall available. And thanks to the two dozen volunteers who did the work, especially activists from D-15 (Detroit for $15 and a Union). Photo: Left to right, Greg Sullivan, SEMJWJ; Sam Stark, SEMJWJ; Gina Goldfaden, SEMJWJ; Quran Calhoun, D-15; Kae Halonen, SEMJWJ; Brian Love, ROC-MI
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Thanks to Larry Lipton, of Indivisible, for the photo of the Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice (SEMJWJ) May 11 door-to-door distribution in Sterling Heights for One Fair Wage. Thanks to UAW Local 228 for making their hall available. And thanks to the two dozen volunteers who did the work, especially activists from D-15 (Detroit for $15 and a Union).

Photo: Left to right, Greg Sullivan, SEMJWJ; Sam Stark, SEMJWJ; Gina Goldfaden, SEMJWJ; Quran Calhoun, D-15; Kae Halonen, SEMJWJ; Brian Love, ROC-MI

EJAM Partners & Fellowship Updates

This intensive training is designed for individuals who are interested in making an impact in their community through organizing around economic justice issues like raising wages or ensuring benefits like earned paid sick time.

ROC MI, EJAM, Detroit Peoples Platform host legislative Caucus

Today’s Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan luncheon with the MI Legislative Detroit Caucus. Thank you Caucus Chair Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, Isaac Robinson, Sylvia Santana, Marshall Bullock, Stephanie Chang.

Employer Egagement

Through RAISE, restaurant owners learn about sustainable business models that champion living wages, basic benefits, fair promotion policies, among other "high road" employer practices as recipes for success, not impediments to profitability.

EMPLOYER SPOTLIGHT: Joel Panozzo, The Lunch Room

I own and operate The Lunch Room in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I have worked minimum wage jobs throughout the industry, from delivering newspapers starting at 11 years old to slicing pizzas at 16, to line cooking at 25. I have worked for employers who have acknowledged the importance of a fair and equitable wage and have work for others that have placed profits over staff.

As a business owner, I think it’s important to pay all employees a living wage and that paying a living wage means actually respecting my employees. The restaurant industry is growing and changing. Now more than ever, there is money to be made in food. There is no reason that a person at each level of the restaurant operation can’t take home enough money to put food on their own family’s table. The industry is resilient and adapts to change all of the time. In the same way, a restaurant can immediately adapt to the latest food trends, they can adapt to equitable wages for their employees. We have found equitable wages as a growing desire of our clientele. Not only are our guests interested in what is organic and gluten-free, but they also want the person slicing their tomatoes, washing their dishes, and delivering an appetizer to their table to be healthy and paid a living wage.
Working towards a livable wage was a conscious business decision that we made over time. We decided the initial sacrifices would, in the end, be the best for the business. The story timeline of our business reflects a similar timeline of wages being raised in the original ballot proposal language. In the past seven years, we have not only been able to assure every employee a livable wage, but also matching retirement plan, earned time off, free usage of the public transportation system and a platinum health and dental plan that only requires a $100 a month buy-in. I directly attribute our growth and continued turning profits to providing these benefits.

One of my number one stresses as a small business owner is hiring and training new staff. We have seen a large increase in employee retention over the years. My staff comes to work motivated and invested in the business’ success. When a business owner is able to retain their staff, they can focus on growing their business and investing in their local community. If someone is working a 40 hour work week, they should no longer question their take-home pay. A 40 hour work week should mean a paycheck where an individual can pay their rent, feed their family and possibly even visit the restaurant they work at as customers.

ROC Michigan has a lot of great training!

In an effort to equip those who work in the restaurant industry with the skills and tools needed to create better futures for their families, the COLORS Hospitality Opportunities for Workers (CHOW) Institute provides in-depth and advanced professional training in both front- and back-of-the-house restaurant skills at no cost to either employers or employees.

CHOW Instructor Spotlight: Meet Chef Nik, BOH Culinary 101

Native Detroiter Nik Renee’ Cole found her passion on the plate and pursued a career as a culinarian. She whet her appetite for the industry at the Art Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas and continued to carve out her craft back home in Michigan while studying at the Art Institute of Novi. Cole was determined to make her own way as she worked in country clubs and kitchens throughout the metropolitan area in order to gain valuable experiences.

The combination of her raw talent and her open, honest personality afforded Cole the opportunity to build a small business, catering to her growing clientele with an array of fresh, ready-to-eat meals. The business, Fork + Knife & Food, consisted of meal prep with a personal touch only Chef Nik could serve up. She met the customers where they were by adhering to their specific lifestyle goals, from cultural and religious preferences to dietary needs and health concerns.

In 2014, customer demand caused Cole to pursue Fork + Knife & Food full-time as a personal chef and caterer, serving businesses and functions large and small. In 2016, she decided to shelve the food prep portion of the business, rebrand and revise her own recipes. This pivot proved advantageous, and allowed Cole the creative space to connect and create key partnerships to lay the groundwork for a unique market experience in Detroit’s Historic North End community. A gastromart, affectionately named the Thank You Mart, as a love letter to Detroit, will include a full kitchen and bar. In addition to the gastromart, Cole started the Speak Easy: Storytellers Edition. The concept, like a home-cooked meal, is meant to bring people together to share stories that build-up, encourage and inspire.

Opportunities for returning citizens and domestic violence survivors

Utilizing a restorative practices approach, the Restore Detroit Program is designed to provide returning citizens with case management services, vocational training and customer service skills needed to work in “front of the house” positions in upscale casual and fine dining restaurants.

Restore Detroit at Expungement Fair

ROC’s Allen Lee at today’s Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Expungement Fair. We are committed to empowering Detroiters to return to work. And work in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Colors Restaurant Detroit

COLORS is the Social Enterprise of the (ROC-MI) a division of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) based out of New York. Our goal is to set the example through professional training, strategic execution, and the operational action of running a successful restaurant and showing how it can co-exist alongside of caring for our #1 Customer... beside the patrons that we service... OUR EMPLOYEES!

Elected Officials, Civil Rights Groups Urge Michigan Supreme Court to Strike Down the Legislature’s Unconstitutional Laws on Wages, Sick Time Benefits

Over 60 state and federal officials, dozens of diverse organizations filed 14 amicus briefs against “adopt and amend” maneuver

LANSING, MI — An unprecedented group of civil rights leaders, social justice advocates, community and labor organizations, state and federal elected officials, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, filed more than a dozen amicus briefs with the Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday, opposing the constitutionality of the legislature’s attempt to remove two proposals from the ballot. The two proposals, Michigan One Fair Wage (MOFW) and Michigan Time To Care (MTTC), would have raised Michigan’s minimum wage and required employers to provide workers with one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, respectively.

The briefs come from more than 60 elected officials and a diverse array of groups in Michigan that represent hundreds of thousands of workers, including those who receive tips, their families and communities. Providing practical and legal arguments, the briefs are in consensus: the legislature’s move, known as “adopt and amend” maneuver, is
unconstitutional and harmful public policy because it stymies the democratic process and the will of voters to propose and enact laws through public initiatives.
“We have never seen such a large number of elected officials and leaders from labor, faith-based, economic and social justice organizations stepping forward to uphold the rule of law,” said Dr. Alicia Renee Farris, state director of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) of Michigan and Michigan One Fair Wage Steering Committee Chair. “These briefs are a clear indication that the public understood the legislature’s illegal attempt to curtail our freedom and right to propose laws. We will never allow lawmakers who abuse their power to bypass the will of the voters.”
In May 2018, nearly half a million registered voters in Michigan signed petitions to place MOFW and MTTC on the ballot. However, instead of allowing voters to weigh in on the proposals, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed the proposals into law to keep them off the ballot and then, during the lame duck session, gutted the earlier proposals that would have increased the minimum wage to $12 an hour in 2022 and provide workers with paid sick time that can be used for personal and family health needs.
An excerpt from the brief filed by Governor Whitmer stated: “The Governor of the State of Michigan agrees with the position advanced by the Attorney General and other supporting amici curiae that (1) the “adopt and amend” maneuver used by the Michigan Legislature in its 2017-2018 legislative session violated article 2, § 9 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, rendering Public Acts 368 and 369 of 2018 unconstitutional; and (2) an advisory opinion from this Court to that effect is necessary to ensure this scheme is never used again.”

“The defenders of PA 368 and 369 purport to rely on the Constitution’s “plain language,” “plain text,” or “plain meaning,” according to Representative Christine Greig, Representative Yousef Rabhi and 60 other members of the House and Senate in their brief. “But their repeated invocations of these and similar phrases cannot obscure one key fact: They cannot point to a single provision of the Constitution that purports to permit the Legislature to adopt a voter-initiated statute into law and then, in the same session, eviscerate it by amendment. Instead, they are forced to rely on constitutional silence—the absence of any provision explicitly forbidding the action challenged here.

“If permitted by the Court this unprecedented “adopt and amend or repeal” scheme heralds the end of the people’s century-old constitutional right of statutory initiative in Michigan because future legislatures will simply “adopt and amend or repeal” any proposal they dislike. During the past century this Court has been the people of Michigan’s last line of defense against repeated legislative attacks on their constitutional rights to direct democracy. The people of Michigan now once again turn to this Court to protect their constitutional rights as the Court has consistently done over that century,” said in the brief’s introduction filed on behalf of Michigan One Fair Wage and Michigan Time to Care. .

Nearly 80 percent of tipped workers in Michigan are women, many of whom are people of color and immigrants who live in poverty and access public benefits at greater rates than non-tipped workers. About 35 percent of tipped workers in the state are mothers.
Currently, the minimum wage in Michigan is $9.45 per hour. For tipped workers, however, the minimum wage is $3.59 per hour, driving many of them use food stamp and other public service benefits in order to provide basic needs for their families.

The elected officials and groups that filed the briefs include Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Representative Christine Greig, Representative Yousef Rabhi and 60 other members of the House and Senate, ACLU, National Employment Law Project for Leave, Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, Voters Not Politicians, Democrats for Life of Michigan, A Better Balance, Michigan State AFL-CIO, Michigan Association for Justice, Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, and Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice.

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Save the Date!

Monday July 29th, 2019
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

We Are Throwing the BEST PARTY IN TOWN... and its ALL for YOU!  We'd love EVERY Restaurant Worker in the Metro Detroit to COME OUT & ENJOY our 1st Annual Family Fun Day at BELLE ISLE PARK

We will house the event at Shelters TBD East & TBD West.

Off of McArthur Bridge follow the road to Casino Way and veer left. Follow Casino Way to Central Ave. Keep straight on Central and continue to Inselruhe and make a left. Parking will be on the right and the Shelters are adjacent to the Parking Lot. (Download Belle Isle Map)

Click this Message to Register for the Event which is
FREE for ALL Restaurant & Hospitality Industry Workers!

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