Meet the Workers

Across the United States, the Real Food Real Jobs team is organizing gatherings with cooks and food service workers for one of our favorite activities — talking about food! Here’s some of what we are hearing from workers on the front lines of food.

“Food matters to me because if I had no respect for my food, I wouldn’t want to be in food service. I want to serve the kind of food that I would want to eat.”

-Manuel Aguilar, Lead Cook, Northwestern University

“I am proud to cook real food for you that is not processed — real fresh food, locally grown food, vegetables and meats. It’s good for you, it’s good for us, it’s good for everybody. So join us!”

-Rafael Marquez, Cook, Northwestern University

“We’re on the front line of campus food. If it were bad or unsafe, we would be the most likely ones to know it. In our union contract, we’ve got protections so we don’t have to be afraid to point out a problem.”

-Raquel Baptiste, Cook, Wesleyan University

“I think we should be making food from scratch using really good recipes because then all of us—workers like me, and the students—would really want to eat it.”

-Marie Wilson, Johns Hopkins University

“The difference the union has made in my life is of course the pay increase. That extra money I can put towards groceries or daycare. And the idea that you don’t have to fight by yourself but have a whole group of people that will fight with you.”

-Sonja Edwards, Cashier, Loyola University

“There is a real barrier to getting good, real food for folks in our communities. It takes a lot of time to shop and cook, and people often work two jobs. Sometimes the cost of unhealthy food is less than it is for healthy food. And bad food is everywhere, like drive-thru fast food places.”

-Gladys Burrell, Cashier, Johns Hopkins University

“With the union, if someone makes a mistake they can’t just be fired right away. People feel like the job is like a family. They feel comfortable now.”

-Siu Ying Gin, Food Service Worker, Loyola University

“Working with students on real food is a win-win situation. Getting real food and using good recipes means more, real work at good wages for us. It means better, healthier food for everyone.”

-Guy Mitchell, Johns Hopkins University

“Recently the college has been making a lot of changes to the food we cook. They want to serve a better product and they are doing that. But aside from serving a better product, they aren’t thinking about the job the workers do.”

-Cristian Torres, Cook, Pomona College

“Last year I was working opening to close, I’d start at 6:30 am and I’d get off at 12:30 am. I didn’t have time to go home and feed my daughter, my husband had to do it all. When you have parents who work a lot, sometimes you don’t have time to cook.”

-Jammie Brokenborough, Cook, Dominican University

“I am really proud of the work that I do with the kids in the school. We get to interact with the children first thing in the morning, before they even get to classroom. We not only feed the kids, we feed their spirit. I want to be able to do a good job for the kids. “

-Linda Green, Chicago Public Schools


I think we should be making food from scratch using really good recipes because then all of us—workers like me, and the students—would really want to eat it
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