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Negotiations Between Pomona College and Workers for Justice Progress, Then Stall

Para leer esta carta en español, oprima aquí [pdf] .

On June 15th, the College met with representatives of Workers for Justice (“WfJ”) and presented the proposal outlined below. The College acknowledges that WfJ’s agreement to a secret ballot represented a significant movement toward the College’s position. Unfortunately, WfJ’s acceptance of a secret ballot to determine worker representation was accompanied by a reversal on the concept of “limited” neutrality. While both parties had been moving toward an agreement on limited neutrality in our last three meetings, WfJ made it clear in the June 15th meeting that they can no longer accept anything but full neutrality from the College.

Full neutrality is equivalent to a gag order being placed on the College. The College’s management would be required to remain silent on the issue of unionization indefinitely--potentially for months or even years,– until WfJ decided that they were ready to seek an NLRB election. Full neutrality means that the College could not discuss unionization during this extended period even if an employee initiated the conversation and could not respond to misinformation or factual errors in WfJ communications. This includes all members of the administration, all supervisors and all managers.

As an educational institution, the College cannot agree to silencing speech. We continue to affirm the right of all College employees to discuss their views on Workers for Justice and unionization in an atmosphere that is free of intimidation. We affirm the right of College employees to decide for themselves whether they want a union through a secret ballot election.

Regulations and procedures of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) allow an election to be scheduled quickly by agreement and for any disputes to be resolved in a timely fashion. WfJ could have filed a petition for NLRB elections months ago and allowed workers to make their decision. During the ongoing discussions with WfJ, the College has continued to support an NLRB process as the best alternative for resolving any question concerning worker representation.

At the June 15th meeting, the College made a comprehensive proposal, addressing staff concerns, for how the parties would conduct themselves during the NLRB pre-election period.

The College remains open to suggestions or proposals regarding how to move the process forward, from interested members of the community. For further information regarding Dining Services and unionization efforts, please visit www.pomona.edu/unionization

Pomona College's June 15 Proposal

Management Proposal for Secret Ballot Vote with Limited Neutrality – Discussion DRAFT dated 6/15/2011

  • The College affirms the right of dining hall staff to choose whether they want to be represented by WfJ and that it supports a secret ballot election to determine that choice.
  • Total neutrality during the collection of cards to reach 30% of workers and the filing of an NLRB petition.
  • Upon filing of the petition with the NLRB set a concrete timeline and date for a secret ballot vote.
  • Once the date of the vote is set:
    • An agreed upon set number of mandatory meetings with dining hall staff for both WfJ representatives and the College. (This ensures that every staff member is making their decision based on the same level of information and has an equal opportunity to ask questions.)
    • The College agrees that no “union buster” consultants will be hired to execute an “anti-union” campaign. We reserve the right to consult with legal counsel. We have not engaged in this activity in past 18 months, although we have been within our rights to do so.
    • The College agrees that no “one-on-one” meetings will be held with employees for the purpose of discussing the union. We reserve the right to meet with employees “one-on-one” to discuss operational issues including but not limited to scheduling, work rules, or disciplinary actions. This has been the consistent policy of the College for the past 18 months and we have dealt with any violations of this policy that have come to our attention.
    • We support educational forums with the participation of community members representing all points of view.
    • Dining Hall management will not initiate conversations concerning the union or WfJ. We reserve the right to answer questions when and if asked or initiated by a dining hall staff member concerning the College’s views on the union.
    • We reserve the College’s right to distribute written information, in particular to respond to any misinformation distributed by WfJ.
  • We propose total neutrality on both sides for the 24-48 hours prior to the election.

Please visit the unionization facts and history page for more information.