Saru Jayaraman

Saru Jayaraman is the co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now has 14,000 worker members, 150 employer partners, and several thousand consumer members in 32 cities nationwide. The story of Jayaraman and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book, The Accidental American.  

Jayaraman is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times, named one of New York Magazine’s Influentials of New York City, and one of Crain’s 40 Under 40. In 2014, Jayaraman made CNN’s Top 10 Visionary Women, received the Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award, and was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House.

She authored Behind the Kitchen Door, a national bestseller, and has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal and Tavis Smiley on PBS, Melissa Harris-Perry, Up with Steve Kornacki, and All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, The Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams