By Maya Olson PZ ’25
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Claremont Student Worker Alliance (CSWA) members delegated at Pitzer’s Founder’s Day Community Breakfast with Interim President Jill Klein.
CSWA members expressed frustration at the firing of three Bon Appetit workers who supported union efforts. CSWA demanded that Pitzer re-hire the workers after UNITE HERE! Local 11 filed an Unlawful Labor Practice on their behalf on February 7.
“We need some kind of answer out of Jill for the pervasive ULPs that have been taken on by Pitzer, and the firing of Stephanie, Kevin, and Alexis, three dining hall workers for union organizing,” said Will Warrick PZ ’24.
At 8:45 a.m., students and workers gathered on the Pitzer College apron outside of McConnell Dining Hall, where Warrick spoke to CSWA members and helped unify the group, assigning roles to those who wished to speak during the delegation.
At approximately 9:15 A.M., they entered the dining hall where Klein and others were gathered for a breakfast event. Klein began the event by delivering a speech regarding the 60th anniversary of Pitzer’s founding.
Before the delegation began, Warrick said, “we’re going to do more of an escalation in a civil sit-in capacity.”
Students felt frustrated that the attendees refused to listen to the students to whom they are responsible, despite CSWA hoping to take a more conversational approach.
When students entered, “Klein gave little regard to what students had to say,” said Evelyn Lillemoe, PZ ‘25 via text, “and essentially encouraged people attending the breakfast to talk over student’s voices.”
Lillemoe stated she felt Klein tried to “shut down” the event, interrupting students while they were speaking.
This event is a further escalation following last week’s delegation, showing that CSWA will not stop organizing for responsibility and changes from the Pitzer administration. Warrick also hoped that the impact would be, “to show the broad community support for these workers and for the worker fight in general, and to demonstrate to Pitzer… this issue is going to be in their face.”
“We deserve and we need some answer out of Pitzer for why this is happening and when [the three workers] will get their jobs back,” Warrick said. “They were fired completely unjustly and they deserve to be here. They are an integral part of the Pitzer community.”
Tony, a groundskeeper at Pitzer, said prior to the breakfast delegation, “for the workers and for the students, it’s frustrating because we’ve done these delegations, we’ve made it clear what the issues [and] injustices are.”
After the first delegation, “[they responded] with pretty much nothing, an email, that doesn’t give us any clear answer,” Tony said. “It shows that they don’t respect us… the people that run this school, that make this school function.”
Students and workers also regularly call out the contradictions between Pitzer’s core values and its actions, including “social responsibility” for which it is known.
“We’re left in the dark,” said Tony, “there is no accountability… it’s disappointing, because these people are in places of responsibility for us — to keep us safe and in a healthy environment — and instead, they’re creating this toxic environment.”
Tony hopes that these actions will change the conditions that workers endure at Pitzer, and consequently make crucial changes to the Pitzer campus environment as a whole.
“We see it clearly, and if they don’t… that’s why we need to be here.”