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Pomona College Fires 16 Workers During Holiday Season

Recently, Pomona dining hall workers expressed interest in forming a union. The Pomona College administration  threatened to take action against 84 workers based on immigration status. Last Friday they followed through with that threat, firing 16 workers, many of them loyal Pomona employees for decades. In response, 200 students, faculty, workers, and faith leaders gathered last Friday to stand with the terminated workers.  The crowd listened as each of the workers spoke of their longstanding dedication to their work and chanted “We are here to WORK! We are here to WORK!”Neither ICE nor the IRS demanded further documentation of Pomona workers, all of whom had presented authorization documents during their hiring processes. The Board of Trustees, who initiated the internal audit, explained that they felt obligated to do do after receiving complaints that several campus employees were violating immigration laws.  One visiting professor of politics countered their statement, noting: “The decision to conduct an audit of the I-9s demonstrates, at best, overzealousness and, at worst, a fundamental disregard for the dignity and privacy of every employee. To seek to justify the College’s actions by referring to a discredited allegation and to federal law is disingenuous.”
Creating a serious and fearful environment for immigrant workers, Pomona´s college president, David Oxtoby, nevertheless has been a vocal voice for immigrant rights in the past.  In his 2010 commencement speech he declared: “This country benefits from the ideas, the skills, and the hard work of those who do and do not bear proper documents; we need to recognize that fact and move toward comprehensive immigration reform.”
For more information about upcoming events as well as ways to get more involved please contact Organizer Elizabeth Russell.
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