Tag Archives: The Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times: Pomona College Protest’s Party Atmosphere Belies Strife

From The Los Angeles Times: Link to original article

By PALOMA ESQUIVEL

The protest at Pomona College on Friday was much like a big outdoor celebration. Tables were set in the middle of the street, a mariachi played, and electrical and grocery union workers served carne asada. But beneath it simmered a dispute between dining hall workers and the administration that has placed the small liberal arts college on the map of the nation’s battles over labor and immigration policy.

The quarrel over a unionization effort, which had endured for two years, took a dramatic turn in December when the school fired 17 immigrant workers because they could not provide proper paperwork.

The firings galvanized workers, many students and some faculty. Months later, the unrest continues. For several weeks, some students set up tents in front of the campus in protest. Others blocked an intersection and were arrested. They have demanded that the workers be reinstated and that the school accept a neutrality agreement with union organizers. Continue reading

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The LA Times: Pomona College food workers rally after documentation questioned

From The Los Angeles Times: Link to original article

Pomona College dining hall workers who were asked to prove their legal authorization to work in the midst of a union organizing effort rallied at the school Wednesday.

Several workers received letters earlier this month asking to “provide current documentation of your identity and work authorization” by Dec. 1 or be “subject to termination.”

Dining hall workers have been trying to organize an independent union for about two years, said Cristian Torres, a cook who has worked at the school for six years. Those efforts are stalled in negotiations with the university, he said.

Felipa Sanchez, a cook at the university for 23 years, said she felt the letter was meant to intimidate workers.

“Why now, after 23 years, are they doing this?” she said.

Sanchez initially kept her distance from ongoing union organizing efforts, believing that “if you’re at work, if you do a good job, you’ll be OK,” she said. “Now I realize it’s not like that.”

Cynthia Peters, a spokeswoman for the college, said the letter followed an independent review of the college’s hiring practices prompted by an employee who accused the administration of not obtaining proper documentation from workers. The review found the accusations to be unfounded but identified dozens of employees with deficient documentation.

“The college administration agrees that this audit comes at an unfortunate time, while people are trying to organize a union,” Peters said. “The two issues are not related.”

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