I have become aware of the current tense atmosphere at Pomona regarding unionization efforts of the dining hall staff at the college. Jeff Zalesin’s fine article touches on the important history of union efforts and points out that getting tough on documentation is a tried and true method to break unionizing efforts. The timing of such efforts at Pomona contributes to a climate of fear and intimidation at a time when very important and moving organizing is going on. Part of this movement is an inspiring effort by many at Pomona to reach across the class divide and connect.
I noticed another article by Carrie Wu addressing the summer policy ruling that tries to limit interaction between dining hall employees and non-employees; this is also troubling. I am from Texas, a severe right-to-work state, and I know about separation, intimidation, and silencing of the working class. I also know about ongong efforts in this country to further crush anything that looks like a union—witness Ohio and Wisconsin—and I know about racism masked as immigration policy—witness Arizona and Alabama.
I am a parent of a Pomona senior who is blessed, like many of your students, with a fiery passion for social and economic justice and a determination to embrace all of humanity and life. Like many other young people in top-tier colleges like Pomona, you all wrestle with the burden of privilege, torn by the inherent tension that goes with the severe inequity of wealth distribution in our country. Policies that separate and inhibit communication (no-talk rules) are no good. And policies confronting documentation smell real bad in the face of a sweet, nascent coming together at Pomona. It is incumbent upon the president and all faculty and administration at Pomona to recognize, vigorously defend, and support the workers at Pomona, the wonderful intentions and energy of your caring activist students, and, specifically, supporters of Workers for Justice (WFJ).