An article in the New York Times last week described how Pomona College recently fired many long-term campus workers, all them immigrants. The incident has ignited a furious debate about the rights of immigrant workers and responsibilities and ideals of institutions like Pomona College. As the Times notes, “the campus is deep into a consuming debate over what it means to be a college with liberal ideals.”
According to the article, students, faculty and alumni are “accusing the administration and the board of directors of betraying the college’s ideals.” Hundreds of alumni have pledged not to donate money to Pomona. Students have staged repeated protests, some of which are featured in this three-minute video, along with an interview with Congresswoman Judy Chu, who represents East LA and parts of the Inland Empire. “They were workers who put their sweat, blood and tears into the college, and they desire better," Chu said. (Watch the video.)
It is no accident that many of the fired workers were organizing a union. The video puts a human face on the story. In the three-minute video, Carmen, an 11-year Pomona College dining hall office worker, tells how she was fired late last year after the college’s Board of Trustees demanded that she and her co-workers reproduce their papers to work in the US. One man involved in the decision to investigate and fire the workers is Paul Efron, Pomona College’s board chairman and advisory director at Goldman Sachs. Efron was a Goldman partner for years.
The National Labor Relations Board has leveled charges against the College for violating federal labor law. How can you help fix this outrageous injustice? Shining a public spotlight on Pomona College’s actions and putting pressure on its board are the best ways to get justice for the immigrant workers who were fired.
There are at least two things you can do:
First, go to the “Justice at Pomona” website and send a message to Mr. Efron, the chair of Pomona College’s Board of Trustees.
Second, spread this message to other people you know via Facebook and Twitter.