Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Jose Oliva of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, who was one of the speakers at the 2015 Food Tank Summit.
Jose Oliva was born in Xelaju, Guatemala, on November 15, 1972 to Myriam Gonzalez a popular educator. As a result of Jose’s mothers’ involvement in social justice issues, they were forced to flee Guatemala in 1985. Once in the U.S. Jose went to work at the Midwest Latino Research and Policy Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago under the direction of Dr. Aida Giachello. He then was called to be Executive Director of Casa Guatemala where he began to organize day-laborers in Chicago’s street corners. He founded the Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center and then became the Coordinator of Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers’ Centers Network. In 2008 he became the coordinator for the Workers’ Alliance for a Just Economy a program of the Center for Community Change.
Jose served in several leadership positions at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United the national organization of restaurant workers. Jose is the Associate Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance a national coalition of food-worker organizations that collectively represents over 250,000 workers.