New guide highlights how restaurants treat workers
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
A new dining guide rates restaurants by how they treat workers.
The Restaurant Opportunities Centers released a new kind of dining guide for 2012 that rates national chains and some other large restaurants based on how they treat employees.
The guide, which urges consumers to "eat ethically," focused on some of the top-earning restaurants and rated them based on whether or not workers are paid a decent wage and are able to take paid sick days.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center is working to raise the federal minimum wage for tipped workers, win paid sick leave for all workers and eliminate segregation by encouraging employers to have transparent promotion policies.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which has 10 restaurants in and around Portland and Salem, scored the guide's highest three-star rating.
Olive Garden, which has nine restaurants in Oregon, has a frowning face beside its listing, along with Red Lobster (five Oregon locations). In addition to not meeting the requirements for the dining guide, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers has handled complaints from workers at both chains regarding discrimination and wage theft.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, a popular burrito spot with 12 restaurants in Oregon, touts its sustainable practices. In the guide, Chipotle won points for offering sick days but fell short of a gold or silver rating due to its wage and advancement policies.
The guide was released Dec. 1 and is available for download here.
Mother Jones offers its own guide that combines the ROC's ratings with other restaurant information.
The Portland Restaurant Workers Alliance offers a Diners Alliance for restaurant patrons to join to show solidarity with restaurant worker rights.
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