Pomona workers vote yes!

On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 4:01 PM, Elizabeth Russell <erussell@cluela.org> wrote:

Dear friends,
Our hearts are filled with joy as we bring you this news. Today, the dining hall workers of Pomona College voted YES to having a union. We’ve dreamt of this day for three years. Now, we will officially join twenty-thousand of our brothers and sisters in UNITE HERE Local 11, who have stood by us as we’ve fought to make our dreams a reality. Words cannot express the pride and power we feel at this moment.

As my coworkers and I cast our ballots earlier this afternoon, we knew that this vote was about more than just joining a union. It was about standing up for our rights. We said yes to our right to work with dignity and respect. We said yes to our right to have a voice at work. We said yes, we do have the courage to assert these rights. It was not an easy thing to do.

For three years, we’ve fought what sometimes felt like an uphill battle. Today, we overcame all of those obstacles when we said yes.

We could not have done it without you. The support of hundreds of students, faculty members, community allies and our union brothers and sisters was invaluable. My coworkers and I knew that you believed in us, and that support gave us the strength to stand up and say yes. Thank you.

Today we won a huge victory, but our fight is not completely over. We expect that the college will abide by our decision, and that it won’t delay in negotiating a union contract with us. We know we can count on you to back us up. Tonight, we’ll celebrate our victory, and tomorrow, we’ll go into work with our heads held high, ready to do what it takes to win a good contract.


In solidarity,


Benny Avina, Catering Chef at Pomona College for 27 years





For Immediate Release: Tuesday April 30 2013

Contact: Hal Weiss 516 428 1928 orhweis@unitehere.org


Pomona College Dining Hall Workers Vote to Join Union


Workers faced firings, gag rule during three-year union organizing campaign.


Claremont – Pomona College Dining Hall workers voted overwhelmingly in favor of unionizing on Tuesday. A group of workers, joined by student and faculty allies, erupted in emotional applause as the results were read. The victory closes a long chapter in the workers’ struggle to gain union representation, which publicly began when they announced their intention to form a union in March 2010.

While the college administration pledged to refrain from intimidating the workers immediately after they went public with their request, their three-year campaign was wrought with controversy. The college ordered a review of employees’ immigration documents, which resulted in the firing of 16 people employed in the college’s dining halls. The firings attracted national media attention and ignited a debate about the rights of immigrant workers. The administration also instituted a gag rule barring students and workers from talking in the dining halls. The decree was ultimately overturned, after the NLRB charged that it violated federal labor law.

[worker quote about respect]

Student activists and faculty members have supported the workers throughout their campaign, by sending letters to the administration, signing petitions and joining in protests. Dining hall workers who helped organize the union say that the support of the Pomona community was critical to their victory.

[worker quote about victory and student support]

[student quote about victory]

The workers will then become members of UNITE HERE Local 11, a union that represents 20,000 hospitality and food service workers in Southern California. The UNITE HERE International Union represents food service workers at more than 100 colleges and universities in the US and Canada.



Elizabeth Russell


Faith Rooted Organizer



Please Join us May 22nd

“Breaking the Barriers, Building the Dream”

St. Anthony’s Croation Catholic Church

712 N Grand Ave

Doors open at 7:30am

Honoring These Giants:
Dr. Jerry Campbell
Rev. Jerry Stinson
Christian Torres
Lifetime Achievement Award: Vivian Rothstein

May 22nd | 8am

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