Better Schools for All of Us: Lunchroom Workers’ Union Supports Striking Teachers

Early this morning, the approximately 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union walked out on strike to continue their effort to create schools – and workplaces – that can provide the best education possible for our city’s children.

UNITE HERE Local 1, which represents 3,200 lunchroom workers in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), stands strongly with the teachers. Though we are not on strike, we will join the picket lines wherever possible.

When the lunchroom workers of UNITE HERE Local 1 reached an agreement with CPS on their own union contract in April of this year, we announced a major success in the workers’ Let’s Cook! campaign to ensure a future of fresh food for Chicago’s kids. The groundbreaking settlement set a course for school meals in Chicago that incorporate the input of the lunchroom workers and respect their skills and experience as frontline caretakers of the kids.

It is now time for the Chicago Public Schools to show that same respect to its teachers – to incorporate their voice, experience, and vision for the future of education in Chicago.

We know that caretakers in the schools every day – be they teachers or lunchroom workers – always hold the interests of all of our children close to their hearts. Their jobs are difficult, but their commitment is great.

“Just like the lunchroom workers, the teachers are nurturers who every day are also counselors, comforters, and mentors to our kids,” said Shay Hillsman, a CPS lunchroom worker and member of UNITE HERE Local 1. She added, “I support the teachers as a fellow worker but also as a parent. They are fighting for educational opportunity for my kids too.”

We are proud to stand together in the schools and on the streets as long as it takes to realize a vision for a better school day for our kids and a better city for all of us.