Trey Kovacs

But that's not all. ROC has been lobbying Washington for an increase in the minimum wage, from which it would be exempt since its workers are, technically, trainees and not employees.

ROC's record on sanitation is hardly any better than the treatment of its workers. Its New York restaurant was cited by the city's Department of Health for multiple health violations, including evidence of rodent infestation in food areas, kitchen surfaces not properly washed, and
food improperly stored.

Is this the work of an organization concerned about worker's rights and safety?

OSHA, the federal agency charged with assuring worker health and safety, seems to think so. It has given ROC and its affiliates over half a million dollars in grants from 2006-2011, mainly to conduct training and provide research to enhance workplace safety. ROC has also taken over $2 million in grants from other federal and state agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the State of New York.

President Obama has warned that sequester cuts to OSHA's budget would "leave workers unprotected" by reducing worksite inspections by 1,200 leading to an "increase in worker fatalities and injuries."

If the president is serious about protecting the health and safety of workers, he should cut federal grants to ROC-which is precisely the kind of organization OSHA was designed to protect workers against.

Trey Kovacs

Trey Kovacs is a labor policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Alex Habighorst is research associate at CEI.