Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4400 (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4400 (CUPE)

May 16, 2012 15:15 ET

And Today's Trial Balloon is....Close the School Cafeterias!

This Recipe is Not Ready for Prime Time

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 16, 2012) - "Local 4400, Toronto Education Workers, have been involved in nutrition, food issues and student success since before the amalgamation of the school boards", said John Weatherup, President of the 12,000 member support staff Union at the Toronto District School Board. "It is a shame that this particular trial balloon was launched before speaking about solutions with some of the key 'partners' or 'stakeholders'."

"It is true that the cafeterias - especially the ones contracted out to large, private companies -- are not the cash cows they once were, but the profit lens used by the number-crunchers will never provide a recipe for success for our students, our communities and our future health costs", said Anna Hutchison, Unit C Vice President and food service worker. "Studies show that students learn better with full stomachs, but the food must be good quality, healthy and well prepared."

John Weatherup continued, "We are missing an important component here: food & nutritional education is key to healthy lifestyles and fundamental to prevention of high medical costs due to obesity, diabetes, anorexia and related medical conditions."

Giselle Burton, Unit C Vice President observed, "Canada is the only developed economy that does not have a food security program that provides for healthy nutrition for children - and we are all paying for that neglect through the high social, emotional and health care costs associated with life-long poor nutrition."

Noting that kitchens in high schools, located in every community throughout Toronto, can form the basis for some economy of scale production of healthy food for high school students, nearby child care centres and even seniors' centres, Weatherup spoke about "Local 4400 and Toronto District School Board Nutrition Educational Program" strategic planning session which took place on May 4th of this year.

"If one is looking at cafeterias as only a failed money-making opportunity, it may make some sense to save the $1.6 million, but if one can envision these assets as the basis for exciting and innovative, multi-age academic programming which will also provide valuable service and create decent jobs for women, then the path is clear", said Weatherup. "Let's not drop the ball on ensuring our students not only are fed, but also learn how to choose healthy meals and prepare them for themselves."

Contact Information

  • CUPE Local 4400
    John Weatherup

    CUPE Local 4400
    Giselle Burton
    Unit C VP

    CUPE Local 4400
    Anna Hutchison
    Unit C VP