Pomona dining workers unionize, look to future

After a turbulent 3 years marked by protests, walk outs and sit-ins, the Pomona College dining workers are finally unionizing.

Last week, employees of Pomona’s dining services voted 57 to 26 in favor of joining Unite Here Local 11, a labor union representing 20,000 workers across southern California.

“Having a union means having a voice at work,” explained Hal Weiss, spokesperson for Unite Here. “That’s what this group of workers wanted all along. There’s no greater perk than that.”

But while the journey to achieving the goal of unionization has been realized, workers are not sitting idle in celebration. Now the real work begins, Mr. Weiss insists.

In coming weeks, dining hall workers will meet with union representatives and university administrators for contract negotiations. Unite Here employees will coach dining workers through the transition and help them create a list of objectives. It may mean weeks or even months of work before the contract is approved, but Benny Avina, a Pomona College catering chef in favor of unionization, insists he’s up for the task.

See the Friday, May 10 edition of the COURIER for the full story.

—Beth Hartnett



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