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New York restaurant jobs called dismal

New York's $8 billion restaurant industry provides plentiful jobs--but also hazardous working conditions and few opportunities for advancement, according to an advocacy group. The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, in a 50-page report, criticized restaurant owners for exploiting hourly workers, many of whom speak little English.

Fifty-nine percent of workers interviewed by the ROC reported overtime violations by the employers. Another 13% reported minimum wage violations.

More than half of the estimated 165,000 restaurant workers in New York City earn less than $10 an hour, according to ROC.

"While there are a few 'good' restaurant jobs in the restaurant industry, the majority are 'bad jobs,' characterized by very low wages, few benefits, and limited opportunities for upward mobility or increased income," the report stated.

The group recommended more vigorous oversight of the restaurant industry by regulators and the removal of barriers to unionizing.

ROC was created after the Sept. 11 attacks to help displaced workers of Windows on the World, the famed restaurant atop the World Trade Center, to find jobs. It received start-up help from HERE, the national restaurant union.

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