On Feb. 10, TSL published a news article on the three Unfair Labor Practice charges filed by UNITE HERE! Local 11 against Pitzer College and Bon Appétit Management Company (BAMCO). Twelve days later, Pitzer’s Interim President Jill Klein responded with a letter to the editor that critiqued comments included in the article.
See President Klein’s letter below.
We would like to thank President Klein for pointing out two factual errors in the article. Firstly, the dining hall workers that were fired were employed by BAMCO, not Pitzer directly.
Secondly, we want to correct a quote from Natasha Wong PZ ’22 that we misparaphrased. The statement included in the article previously read: “According to UNITE HERE! Local 11 representative Natasha Wong PZ ’22, Pitzer began subcontracting workers through BAMCO after Pitzer staff went public with their union campaign last spring as an attempt to exclude new workers from the union.”
Pitzer has subcontracted with BAMCO to manage their dining hall staff since before unionization efforts began, according to both Klein and Wong. We initially incorrectly wrote that Wong had said the contrary.
However, we’d like to clarify that Wong alleged that BAMCO’s scope of responsibility has widened after Pitzer’s union campaign. Prior to the campaign, Pitzer hired the dining staff and contracted BAMCO to manage the dining staff. However, after the campaign, Pitzer allegedly tasked BAMCO with hiring and managing dining staff. On behalf of UNITE HERE! Local 11, Wong and the ULPs allege that adding on hiring to BAMCO’s responsibilities was an attempt to disqualify workers hired under BAMCO from joining the Pitzer Union.
Whether or not Pitzer and BAMCO changed hiring practices following the start of the union campaign remains in dispute and TSL was not provided with documentation to prove either side.
TSL regrets these errors and the article has since been updated with correct information. We hold ourselves to the highest possible journalistic standard. In that aim, we strive to diligently fact check every story we publish to the best of our ability. We are grateful for this opportunity President Klein has given to correct our mistakes and hold ourselves accountable.
At the same time, we would be remiss to not acknowledge the ambiguity and limited information available to students and our journalists to find the truth about Pitzer’s hiring practices. Prior to publishing the article, TSL reached out to both Pitzer and BAMCO’s Department of Communications for clarification on Pitzer’s hiring practices and offered a chance to preemptively correct any misinformation.
Our writers were met with very little transparency from both administrations, with no mention of the corrections that were presented in President Klein’s letter. We want to exercise good faith and acknowledge that it’s plausible these concerns were brought to our attention as soon as they happened, but we can speak for our entire staff when we say that we hope for a more transparent relationship with all 5C administrations to avoid any misinformation in the future.
In preparation for any story, our editorial process requires our writers to ask their sources for evidence. Consistent with their training, our writers reached out to Pitzer directly to fact check allegations, asked union representatives for clarification, corroborated statements with the lawyer who filed the ULPs, parsed through the legal documents and attended delegations to produce this story. TSL stands by the credibility of our journalism and the hardworking journalists that have continued to diligently report it for over a century.
We want to reaffirm our commitment to TSL’s ethics statement: “We aim to seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable and transparent.” As such, the student journalists of TSL will continue to prioritize truth above all else.
Claremont Student Worker Alliance (CSWA) has created a petition demanding Pitzer rehire the fired workers, whom they’ve dubbed “The Pitzer 3.” As of Friday afternoon, the petition had 833 signatures, according to CSWA organizer Cameron Quijada SC ’25.
We urge Pitzer to hold true to its core values by taking action to resolve these worker and student concerns.
Hannah Weaver, Editor-in-Chief
Averi Sullivan, Managing Editor of News and Opinions
Gerrit Punt, Managing Editor of Arts & Culture and Sports
TSL’s editorial board is comprised of its editor-in-chief and two managing editors and does not necessarily represent the views of other TSL staff members.
Letter to the editor: Pitzer supports employees, including their right to organize
The following letter was sent via email to TSL editors on Feb. 22. A similar email was sent to the Pitzer College community on March 1.
To the Editor,
On behalf of the Pizer College Administration and Trustees, I would like to correct recent comments regarding the College and its employees that were recently published in TSL in a news article and an opinion piece.
Comments in TSL allege that the College has taken actions “in an attempt to discourage support for the newly-formed union.” This is not true. The facts are that the College has expressly agreed in writing to remain neutral. In August 2022 we voluntarily recognized the union. Since then, we have been engaged in good faith negotiations, not in any way to discourage support, but to reach a mutually agreeable collective bargaining agreement.
Other comments allege that Pitzer fired two employees at Bon Appétit for their support of the union. This is not true. The facts are that the workers referenced were not employees of the College, and Pitzer could not have fired them. The article also reports that “Pitzer began subcontracting workers through [Bon Appétit] after Pitzer staff went public with their union campaign last spring as an attempt to exclude new workers from the union.” This is not correct. Pitzer has had the same contractual relationship (and related employment practices) with Bon Appétit for years.
The College has been portrayed as uncaring of employees. In fact, Pitzer College cares greatly about the welfare of every one of our employees. To cite one recent and very important case in point, during the COVID-19 shutdown, unlike many colleges and universities across the country, Pitzer did not lay off any employees, despite the fact that many were no longer able to perform their duties due to the campus closure. Instead, Pitzer reduced the wages of our highest-paid workers, such as College administrators, and increased wages for our lowest-paid workers to help them get through the pandemic. This action cost the College millions of dollars at a time of great financial uncertainty, but we did it out of concern for the welfare of our most vulnerable employees—an action entirely consistent with our shared core values.
Pitzer College will continue to do right by its employees.
Jill A. Klein