This last weekend, a panel, “Pomona College Fires 17: Union Organizing and Immigrant Rights in the Inland Empire” was held as part of the 2012 Annual Meeting of the California American Studies Association (CASA). It was a good discussion with involvement from some faculty members from Loyola Marymount and other colleges. The presenters included myself, student Eric Martinez Cornejo, Christian (the dining hall worker, Tomas Sandoval, and Victor Silverman. In terms of the future, it was discussed strengthening the alumni support — and that the numbers of those not donating is growing.
There is pressure on the college and that is why they are turning to helping promote education on immigration issues and proposing that the workers will be rehired if they can come up with papers. At the same time, they are pushing more that the ultimate solution is a legalization plan on the federal level. There are a number of actions planned including various educational sessions and actions with alumni on Alumni Weekend on Saturday, April 28 (that will include conversations with workers, fellow alumni, students, and, it is hoped, some trustees who support). The actions include further organizing to withhold donations from the College and it is being asked to donate to the Center for the Working Poor. The Center is a local non-profit who is passing on 100% of the donations to the families of fired Pomona dining hall workers. This is a good thing — and gives a positive alternative to where the donations should go. Please donate. Below is the letter from Peter Kuhns.
From: Peter Kuhns [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 6:47 PM
To: Peter Kuhns
Subject: This Alumni Weekend, donate to fired Pomona workers
Dear Pomona Alum,
As we near the end of another school year, the Pomona Board of Trustees is at the center of an unprecedented turmoil over how they have chosen to treat immigrant workers at campus dining halls. Despite generating unwanted national attention after the firing of sixteen workers – many of them with years dedicated to the College – Board President and Goldman Sachs executive Paul Efron has shown no interest in changing course or negotiating a democratic process for the remaining workers to decide on unionization.
Alumni Weekend 2012 is almost upon us, and those of us who strongly believe that the College can continue to be first-rate AND treat its lowest-paid workers with dignity and respect are doing two things to make our voices heard. First, those of us who are able are coming to campus for Alumni Weekend on Saturday, April 28 for a day of conversations with workers, fellow alumni, students, and – we hope – administrators and trustees regarding the way forward. Second, we are renewing our pledge to withhold donations from the College until a fair process agreement has been reached, and are in the meantime donating to the Center for the Working Poor. The Center is a local non-profit who is passing on 100% of the donations to the families of fired Pomona dining hall workers.
Please consider coming to campus this year, and reply to this message if you’re interested. And in order to make your donation to support fired dining hall workers, click here.
This Alumni Weekend, we can use our voices and our money to make Pomona the type of employer that we know it can and should be.
Peter Kuhns ‘98