For two years, lunchroom workers in Chicago Public Schools have led the Let’s Cook campaign to bring more freshly cooked food into their cafeterias. They celebrated a victory earlier this year when CPS committed to end a program that during the 2012-2013 school year served previously frozen, pre-packaged meals in 25% of schools.
In July 2013, CPS announced the layoff of 200 workers, a move that lunchroom staff cautioned could have negative consequences. Indeed, a survey of over 500 workers conducted during the Fall semester revealed longer lines, less time to clean, and workers who had gone entire days without breaks. Workers and allies called on the district to address staff shortages resulting from the layoffs.
In past weeks, 97 workers have won their jobs back! The recalls would not have been possible without the dedication of lunchroom workers, and commitment of UNITE HERE Local 1’s CPS “Flying Squad:” Louise Babbs, Joseph Cook, Gloria Drew and Ana Valle.
Welcome back to work… Let’s Cook!