School lunch was all over the national news this week and the lunchroom workers from UNITE HERE Local 1 in Chicago were right in the middle of it. After doing hundreds of surveys about school food with members, UNITE HERE Local 1 held a rally on January 24 to release a report, “Feeding Chicago’s Kids the Food They Deserve: The Lunch Ladies’ View of Meals at Chicago Public Schools.” The report’s frontline take on the food served to our kids, and the workers’ suggestions for improvement, caught the eye of popular online media, mainstream Chicago press, and renowned school food bloggers, and even garnered a mention in CNN. As the Chicago Tribune summarized, the workers “want to offer their firsthand knowledge and cooking skills to make the healthy food appealing to kids, but right now their hands are tied.”
The healthy food effort at Chicago Public Schools is also a part of UNITE HERE’s national sustainable food program, Real Food Real Jobs.
- ‘Lunch ladies’ criticize how CPS updated school food, January 25, 2012. Chicago Tribune
- Lunch Ladies Protest Chicago Public Schools Food, Release Report Detailing Deficiencies, January 25, 2012. Huffington Post
- Lunch staffers to CPS: We want to cook, January 24, 2012. WBEZ