Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Saru Jayaraman: "Behind the Kitchen Door in Santa Cruz and Across America"

October 28, 2013 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm  |  Oakes Learning Center, UCSC


saru-spotlightMore Americans are choosing to dine healthy and ethically at restaurants offering organic and fair-trade ingredients. Yet few diners are aware of the working conditions at the restaurants themselves. How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? And how do poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables? In her book, Behind the Kitchen Door, Saru Jayaraman tries to answer these questions by following a group of restaurant workers, among the 10 million – many of whom are immigrants and people of color – who make up the nation’s second-largest private sector workforce. Whether you eat haute cuisine or fast food, the well-being of restaurant workers is a pressing concern, affecting our health and safety, as well as our local economies.

Ms. Jayaraman’s talk will be followed with a Q&A session with the author along with Gretchen Regenhardt, attorney and representative of the Watsonville-based group, California Rural Legal Assistance, which is launching a survey and research project on low-wage restaurant workers in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.

Saru Jayaraman is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley. She is also co-Founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), a national organization with 10,000 members across 26 cities, which organizes restaurant workers to win workplace justice, conducts research, partners with responsible employers, and launched cooperatively-owned restaurants. She has appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, and PBS, among others.

California Rural Legal Assistance, founded in 1966 as a nonprofit legal services program, now has 21 offices, providing more than 40,000 low-income rural Californians with free legal assistance and a variety of community education and outreach programs.

Co-Sponsored by the UCSC Center for Labor Studies, the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, the Sociology Department, the Chicano Latino Resource Center, Oakes College, and the Institute for Humanities Research.

For more information, please contact


October 28, 2013
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm