Will ROC’s Labor Union Cover Its Unpaid, Part-Time Workers?

Last week in Philadelphia, the country’s most notorious labor union front group got a union of its own.

The Restaurant Opportunities Center signed a two-year collective bargaining agreement with the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia (part of the Communication Workers of America.) The contract covers employees in Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, and Miami, and sets standard pay schedules for full- and part- timers as well as guaranteeing paid sick days and vacations for both. (In return, ROC employees will deposit 1.5% of their paychecks in the Guild’s coffers for union dues.)

Were ROC’s employees mistreated prior to signing the bargaining agreement? It’s tough to say. We do know that ROC was previously sued by its own employees for, among other things, failure to pay minimum wage. And the group has relied on unpaid part-time workers who received no benefits to collect data for its Diners’ Guide and Behind the Kitchen Door reports.

It’s a delicious piece for hypocrisy for an organization that uses those same reports to lament the pay and benefits in the full-service restaurant industry. No word yet on whether the newly-unionized ROC will start paying its data collectors.