Media Advisory: New Food Labor Research Center to be launched at UC Berkeley

ATTENTION: Reporters covering food, agriculture, labor, health, sustainability and social justice

WHAT: An event celebrating the official launch of the University of California, Berkeley’s new Food Labor Research Center, which is charged with raising public awareness about the wages and working conditions of the food and restaurant industry’s 20 million workers in the United States.

Highlighting the program will be “food for thought” from leading food and labor thinkers, including Saru Jayaraman, director of the new center. Jayaraman also is the author of the soon-to-be-released book, “Behind the Kitchen Door,” in which she records the daily lives of restaurant workers in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Detroit and New Orleans.

A panel of experts will share their insights on the important issues shared by both food and labor.

WHEN: 5:30-7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 13

WHERE: The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way, Berkeley

A map showing the location of the institute, less than a block east of Telegraph Avenue, is online.

DETAILS: Those interested in attending need to R.S.V.P. at by Dec. 10.

The panel of experts will include Oakland’s Raj Patel (author of “The Value of Nothing” and “Stuffed and Starved”); Eric Holt-Gimenez, executive director of Food First, an Oakland-based nonprofit devoted to ending injustices that cause hunger; and Joann Lo, executive director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, which is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Jayaraman also is co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which helped New York City restaurant workers displaced after 9/11. ROC-United promotes workplace justice and conducts research around policy issues relating to the food and restaurant industries.

The Food Labor Research Center is part of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.