Pomona College and UNITE HERE Local 11 have concluded negotiations and reached the first collective bargaining agreement covering Pomona dining hall employees. Workers voted on Tuesday, Dec. 17, to ratify the three-year contract, which provides set wage increases each year; continues stable and affordable health care, now through UNITE HERE; and creates a joint labor-management committee to ensure that everyone's rights are respected in the workplace and to deal with operational issues.

The agreement is the result of months of hard work at the negotiating table and represents the first step in an ongoing partnership between Pomona College and UNITE HERE Local 11. The contract covers 86 Pomona dining employees. A majority of dining staff voted in April to be represented by UNITE HERE Local 11.

Karen Sisson, Pomona vice president and treasurer, said "We look forward to working with the union to turn a new page in labor-management relations in Pomona's dining halls.  I am hopeful that our employees and managers can move forward in a spirit of teamwork and that we can focus on making Pomona College Dining Services the standard of excellence in undergraduate food service and catering."

Benny Avina, a cook in Frary, said "The most important part of the contract for me is that now we have language that gives us respect and dignity and that puts us on more equal standing with the managers."