For immediate release
March 30, 2012
(213) 481-8530 x253
CLAREMONT, CALIF., March 30, 2012 – Hundreds of workers, students, clergy and community members will take to the streets on Friday, March 30, celebrating the legacy of Cesar Chavez by calling for justice and peace for food service workers organizing a union at Pomona College.
The call for peace comes after a prolonged period of bitter conflict on the prestigious Inland Valley campus. Unprovoked by any federal agency and in the middle of a union organizing drive, Pomona College administration demanded late last year that workers produce documents proving their eligibility to work in the United States. Less than one month later, the college fired 16 dining hall workers. The decision terrorized immigrants and turned Pomona College into a battleground with protests, vigils, boycotts of dining halls and more. Hundreds of alumni have pledged not to donate to Pomona College.
Now, supporters are calling on Pomona College to sign a neutrality pledge, to allow Pomona dining workers to decide among themselves whether they want a union, in an atmosphere free from threats and intimidation.
"Pomona College trustees and administrators turned this peaceful liberal arts campus into a battleground like Arizona or Alabama. Now the administration must take steps to repair the damage they caused and restore peace," said Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of LA County Federation of Labor.
Rolando Araiza is a dining hall worker who called for a fair process to organize a union.
"All we want is for our voices to be heard," said Araiza. "Because Pomona is a great college, where ideas matter, and students learn to say what they think, we thought our voices would count, too."
Isabel Juarez, a Pomona College student, helped to organize the “Dining Hall in the Streets” for Cesar Chavez Day.
"I want the workers to know they are not alone, that we are grateful for their invaluable service, we care about their well being, and we are willing to stand with them as they demand justice from Pomona College," said Juarez.
The event sponsors include CLUE-LA, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11, Latino and Latina Roundtable of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, Latino Student Alliance, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, Pax Christi, Pomona Habla, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1428, and UNITE HERE Local 11.