ROC - Restaurant Opportunities Center United

Restaurant Opportunities Center United

Illinois Senior Lead

Based in Chicago, IL

About ROC-United:
Founded initially after September 11th, 2001, the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC-United) has grown into a national organization with ten established chapters and joint membership of more than 30,000 low-wage restaurant worker members, 700 restaurant employer members, and several thousand consumer members. Over the last 17 years, we have won more than twenty workplace justice campaigns, winning more than $10 million in misappropriated tips and wages and discrimination payments for low-wage workers, and significant policy changes in high-profile fine dining restaurant companies covering thousands of workers. We have partnered with 700 responsible restaurant owners to promote the 'high road' to profitability, and trained more than 8,000 restaurant workers to advance to livable wage jobs within the industry. We have also published forty ground-breaking reports on the restaurant industry, obtaining significant media coverage, led statewide and local minimum wage increases and paid sick days legislation, and initiated other policy campaigns at the local, state, and federal level. We own and operate restaurants called COLORS that serve as the home base for our workforce-development training and membership programs in New York and Detroit, and will be expanding COLORS to New Orleans, Washington DC, and Oakland during 2019.

About ROC-Illinois:
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Illinois (ROC-Illinois) is a chapter center of ROC-United that was founded in 2008. We have over 3,000 worker members and restaurant employers throughout the Chicagoland area, with a growing number in the state of Illinois. Our center’s aim is to improve wages and working conditions in the restaurant industry to bring about just and dignified workplaces. Our primary focus is our One Fair Wage campaign, to eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers, which we achieve through the following means: (1) Building and mobilizing a base of restaurant workers, including through our COLORS Hospitality Opportunity for Workers (CHOW) institute, in which we provide advanced fine dining job skills training to more than 100 workers annually; (2) Organizing low-wage immigrant and workers of color in restaurant workplace justice campaigns that justify the need for One Fair Wage legislation; and (3) targeting legislators through research, communications, mobilization, coalition-building, and more.

We are looking to hire a dedicated senior-level manager to oversee the chapter and in particular, ROC-Illinois’ One Fair Wage campaign. The Senior Lead will oversee all statewide work, including the overall policy campaign, coalition building, worker outreach and development, CHOW, workplace justice campaigns, and member services including legal referral assistance, and will support fundraising and grant development. The Senior Lead will train and supervise the Chicago Lead Organizer and several member organizers, and develop worker leaders to support coalition and alliance work at the local, state and national levels.

Under the supervision of the ROC-United Regional Director, the ROC Senior Lead will be responsible for:

  1. Advancing a OFW campaign in IL by:
    • Helping to develop and implement the overall campaign strategy;
    • Leading campaign activities including lobbying, direct actions, public testimony at hearings, defending against opposition attacks, phone banking, door-knocking, etc.
    • Identifying and recruiting worker leaders to form a OFW Worker Leader Committee to lead the OFW campaign.
    • Public speaking, and supporting the capacity of others to speak publicly, on the OFW efforts before policymakers, press, and allies.
    • Fostering and maintaining partnerships with government and/or legal entities to support the campaign as needed.
  2. Coalition/Alliance Work
    • Developing partnerships to build a strong coalition to advance OFW in Illinois.
    • Serving on the board of the Raise the Floor Alliance (RTF, an alliance of Chicago worker centers). Assuming the responsibilities of a board member and representing the best interests of ROC includes:
    • Participating and supporting the strategic planning activities of RTF in 2019.
      • Participating in policy campaigns.
      • This will include activating a core of member leaders to participate in an RTF planning process and policy campaigns.
      • Ensure that ROC Chicago is meeting coalition re-grant and participation deliverables.
  3. Growing and developing ROC-Illinois’ worker membership and leadership:
    • Conducting weekly street outreach to recruit members, and training the ROC Chicago Lead Organizer and worker leaders to do the same;
    • Engaging members to support coalition and RTF Alliance work;
    • Ensuring that members are provided regular leadership development opportunities and moved up the ladder of engagement
    • Supporting workplace justice campaigns to win changes at high profile restaurants that strategically justify the One Fair Wage campaign, and training worker leaders to lead these campaigns utilizing legal and direct action strategies;
    • Helping workers identify, prepare and/or file legal claims;
    • Working with ROC-United’s Communications Director to lead ROC-Illinois’ media advocacy and communications strategy to amplify the One Fair Wage campaign and engage workers online;
  4. Growing our employer base through our employer organization, RAISE by:
    • Developing an annual plan for cultivating relationships and connecting employers to organizing and campaign-related work.
    • Connecting employers with the CHOW Institute, by offering training through CHOW or job placement.
    • Engage employers in creating, reviewing, and endorsing the Restaurant Employer Manual project.
  5. Administrative
    • Developing the annual budget and work plan and participating in a strategic planning process beginning in mid-2019.
    • Maintaining accurate records and assuring protocols are being followed, including:
      • Security protocols
      • Communications protocols
      • Management and Staff Union Records
      • Time documentation and adhering to 501c3 lobbying rules.
      • Organization Database Records, i.e. assuring all membership information and organizing data are entered into the database in a timely manner.
  6. Supervising the Chicago Lead Organizer and several member organizers:
    • Develop comprehensive staff work plans, manage sustainable workloads, conduct quarterly, and yearly staff evaluations;
    • Training and education, including on-the-job coaching as well as identifying professional development opportunities;
    • Administrative tasks as required to ensure smooth operational support.
  7. Development
    • Lead local fundraising efforts including:
      • Identifying and securing new funding sources;
      • Planning, conducting, and prepping staff and members to be a part of funder site visits;
      • Planning and executing fundraising events;
      • Training member leaders to support and eventually lead local grassroots fundraising efforts.
  8. Support national development team in maintaining existing funders and attaining new funding sources for our affiliate.
    • Identifying new funding sources
    • Provide input and information for grant writers
    • Serving as the local contact for foundations, and participating in foundation related activities as needed.

ROC United is seeking to hire a Senior Lead who can make a long-term commitment to the role, and who has:

  • At least 5-7 years of labor/community organizing and base-building experience;
  • Demonstrated success in leadership development - you excel in mentoring people to be their own heroes and agents of their own liberation. You love engaging people in political discussions and are comfortable taking responsibility for the development of the political consciousness of others;
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial, gender, social, and economic justice; and significant experience working collaboratively with persons of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status, ages, genders, and sexual orientations;
  • Experience with coalition-building;
  • Experience with policy campaigns;
  • Strong working knowledge of labor laws and relevant government agencies
  • Strong communication, diplomacy, leadership, and management skills;
  • Maintenance of a professional attitude and strong ethical practice and willingness to learn and grow;
  • Willingness to travel and work nights/weekends;
  • Proficiency in oral and written Spanish STRONGLY preferred;
  • Restaurant work experience a plus.

Working Conditions: Chapter directors are required to work long and irregular hours including work on weekends and holidays as necessary. The work of a Senior Lead necessitates flexibility as demands and priorities for a particular campaign or the overall organization shift. It is expected that ROC Illinois staff be available during the times that workers in their assigned area are available at their work site, home or another locale. You may be required to travel extensively, largely throughout the state with occasional travel to other states.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience. We offer health, dental, and vision insurance, paid parental leave, sick days, personal days, vacation, and access to a 401K.

To Apply
Please send cover letter and résumé detailing your qualifications to

Women, people of color, people with disabilities / disabled people, Trans* & Gender Queer/Gender Variant people,
LGBTIQ, and immigrants are strongly encouraged to apply.

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O'Keefe Search


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