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Saru Jayaraman

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Saru Jayaraman

One Fair Wage and the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley

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Saru Jayaraman is the President of One Fair Wage and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), which grew into a national movement of restaurant workers, employers, and consumers. She then launched One Fair Wage as a national campaign to end all subminimum wages in the United States.

The story of Saru and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American, and the story of the One Fair Wage campaign has been profiled in the new film Waging Change. 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, named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, was 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year” and New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She was listed in CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015, and the SF Chronicle ‘Visionary of the Year’ in 2019.

Saru has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris-Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Saru is also the author of four books including her latest, One Fair Wage: Ending All Subminimum Pay in America (The New Press, November 2021). Additional publications include Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Bite Back: People Taking on Corporate Food and Winning, (UC Press, 2020). She attended the Golden Globes in January 2018 with Amy Poehler as part of the Times Up action to address sexual harassment.