Below is a letter sent out by several members of the Concerned Pomona Alumni group to the College administration:
We have been reading about the recent developments at Pomona College and are concerned about the College’s recent decisions, namely in regard to compliance with federal employment regulations. We were very disappointed to learn that the College is being investigated by the National Labor Relations Board following allegations of imposing illegal sanctions on dining hall workers. Specifically, we have read that one of our top chefs was denied promotion for wearing a union button and the College has a policy that prohibits dining hall workers from talking to students during meal times.
During our time at Pomona College there were also myriad issues surrounding the ability of dining hall workers to form a union and receive a fair wage for their hard work. Given the centrality of food service to our residential campus, we believe that it is especially important to quickly resolve this dispute. After all, these are the very individuals who greet, serve and clean up after students at each meal. They have worked very hard to make sure that we were taken care of, even during stressful times, such as final exam periods.
As an affluent college, with a rather large endowment, it behooves the College to compensate these workers at a fair rate. The fact that workers are still claiming to suffer from abuses and low wages after more than a decade strongly suggests that the College is not addressing the issue with proper urgency. Also, the fact that the federal government has filed a formal complaint against the College does not enhance its image to the public and possible future applicants. Rather, this issue may irreparably damage the College’s standing.
For these reasons, we suggest the formation of a student-faculty-alumni committee to investigate the workers’ claims and to identify amenable solutions for our workers who have given so much to the College. Now it is time to give back to them what they have rightly earned over so many years.
Nicki Lisa Cole ’02, Audrey Hill ’02, Susan Koppelman ’01, Charles Cange ’02, Jimmie Ahimsa Luthuli ’02, Tiombe Jones, Attorney at Law ’02