For immediate release
April 26, 2012
Workers File Complaint with Cal/OSHA Alleging Workplace Dangers, Environment of Silence and Apprehension in College's Dining Halls
With an injury rate nearly double the national rate in 2010 according to a union analysis, current and former Pomona College dining hall employees filed a complaint with Cal/OSHA on April 26. This complaint comes as a result of debilitating injuries sustained in food service work at the college.
As labor and work safety organizations observe Workers’ Memorial Day worldwide, Workers for Justice and UNITE HERE released a new report called "Pain and Fear." The report, available today at www.justiceatpomona.org, discusses the union’s findings of a high incidence rate of injuries to food service workers at Pomona College over the last two years, and the concern that workers are suffering through work-related pain in silence.
In a survey of workers, more than 60% of respondents reported they had not been trained in numerous areas of workplace safety, and only about half of workers who experienced work-related pain indicated that they had reported their pain to supervisors.
Elisea Mendoza, a cashier at Pomona for 18 years, injured her hand while working in July of 2009 but did not immediately report the injury. "I was afraid they would take action against me," she said. Pain from her injuries has left Elisea unable to work for over a year.
Pomona College dining hall workers have sought a fair process to decide whether to unionize with UNITE HERE. Just last month, a march of 1,000 workers and supporters on the Pomona campus called for the college to bring peace to the campus with a neutrality pledge. The report released today joins in that call by asking the college to take steps to eliminate the fear and uncertainty that can deter workers from reporting their injuries to supervisors.
Workers and student supporters will distribute the report to Pomona College alumni who are returning to the campus this weekend for the college’s annual alumni weekend festivities.
For more information and to download the full report, visit www.justiceatpomona.org.