Tag Archives: Palermo’s Pizza

Striking Palermo’s Workers Take Their Boycott Message to Marquette University

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The Boycott Palermo's informational picket line ran right next to the student line waiting to get into the basketball game

Milwaukee, WI - As a line of hundreds of Marquette University students continued to build for their home game basketball game of the year versus fellow Jesuit University rival Notre Dame a different line also began to form. This line was equally as loud and visible despite visibly less numbers than the huge student turnout for the final home game of the year. This was a Boycott Palermo’s Pizza informational picket line aiming to educate game goers about the ongoing strike and boycott at the local pizza company, where workers were illegally fired for organizing a union.

Striking Palermo's workers and MU students band together to bring their message to waiting students.

Striking Palermo’s workers and MU students band together to bring their message to waiting students.

According to their Facebook page, the informational picket was organized by the MU Coalition for Worker Rights to:

“…demand that Marquette University cut its contract with Palermo Villa, Inc.

Marquette University, despite being an affiliate of two international groups that support fair labor rights, has a contract with Palermo’s Pizza, a company that fired dozens of workers this summer for attempting to form a union.

The MUCWR stands in solidarity with the Palermo workers, and is urging Marquette to stand behind its principles and international agreements by cutting its contract with this exploitative company.”

 

The Boycott Palermo's informational picket line ran right next to the student line waiting to get into the basketball game

The Boycott Palermo’s informational picket line ran right next to the student line waiting to get into the basketball game

A group of about 40 workers and their supporters held signs, marched, chanted, passed out literature explaining the labor dispute, and generally made themselves visible engaging many passersby and game attendees into perhaps pondering why their university was drawing such a spirited protest. Check out our video below from Saturday’s event.

Bringing Palermos Boycott to Marquette from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

Solidarity Dinner Raises Money for Striking Palermo’s Pizza Workers

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Community supporters and striking Palermo's Pizza workers walk the picket line together after last night's Solidarity Dinner (photo courtesy of Daniel Ginsberg-Jaeckle)

It was a great turnout at last night’s Solidarity Dinner for the striking Palermo’s Pizza workers.

Milwaukee, WI - The United Lodge 66 on Milwaukee’s south side was jam packed with supporters of the striking Palermo’s Pizza workers who have been on strike for well over a month now, demanding the company recognize their union (which was democratically voted for by over 80% of the workers) and take seriously their worker safety concerns. The dinner organized by several community members raised over $700.00 for the worker general strike fund and reminded the striking workers that they have many allies supporting them in their fight.

Community supporters and striking Palermo’s Pizza workers walk the picket line together after last night’s Solidarity Dinner (photo courtesy of Daniel Ginsberg-Jaeckle)

The evening’s events began with a grill-out of brats and hotdogs (donated from supporters of the strike), interactive games with attendees, and musical entertainment including a unifying moment, where one of the members of the Milwaukee Molotov Marchers, (a radical street marching band from Milwaukee) led the gathering in a collective and powerful “The People United Will Never Be Defeated” / “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido” musical chant (video embedded below). At the conclusion of the dinner and post-dinner festivities the gathering made their way down to the Palermo’s Pizza worker picket line, where the striking workers and community supporters walked the line in solidarity till 9:30 (the time Palermo’s workers end their picket every night). This was the perfect ending to a day of tremendous solidarity and support from the community and left no doubt in the minds of the workers that others stand in solidarity with their struggle!

Four babies have been born to striking Palermo’s Pizza workers since they went on strike well over a month ago. Meet little Kimberly. Her daddy, Roberto, is one of the many workers on strike, fighting for her future!

No Justice, No Piece! Boycott Palermo’s imahe created for the striking workers by Riverwest artist Paul Kjelland.

Here are things you can do to help the striking workers immediately:

- Donate to the strike fund: https://www.wepay.com/donations/170361

- Sign & share the petition: http://signon.org/sign/tell-palermos-pizza-stop.fb10?source=s.fb&r_by=2739117

- Join the picket line at 3310 W. Canal Street in Miwaukee! Bring supplies (food, water, umbrellas for the sun, signs, music, etc)

- Join the official Strike Facebook page, “Support Striking Palermo’s Workers”

- Spread the word!

For more information about the ongoing strike: www.vdlf.org

Support Growing for Striking Palermo’s Pizza Workers

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Striking Palermo's Pizza workers walk the picket line.

This banner, created by local Riverwest artist Paul Kjelland, has been embraced by the striking workers.

Milwaukee, WI - Three weeks ago over 150 Palermo’s Pizza workers walked off the job because they believed union busting tactics were being employed by the company. Worker safety conditions at Palermo’s Pizza reached a level so concerning to workers that they felt compelled to protect themselves. The workers collectively decided that protection would best come through the formation of a union. Workers claim that when they submitted an adequate number of signatures to the company to form a union (“majority sign-up”), Palermo’s immediately launched a campaign of intimidation, and according to Truth Out, “instructed employees to begin training replacement workers from a temp agency, and gave employees a letter stating that they had 28 days to verify their authorization to be working in the United States.” These company letters arrived immediately following the company’s finding out the workers were organizing. An interview conducted, after the letters were sent, with an ICE official later proved this Palermo’s Pizza company claim to be false. Workers have been on strike ever since the walk out and support from the surrounding community seems to be gradually building.

Striking Palermo’s Pizza workers walk the picket line.

The workers have walked a picket line in front of the company for three weeks and the number of their supporters seem to be growing. The workers shocking stories of dangerous working conditions (2 separate cases of worker amputee accidents in which the company was find by OSHA) and being forced into working 70 – 80 hour workweeks have been falling upon more and more ears and workers from around Milwaukee are starting to lend their support. On Thursday night AFT (American Federation of Teachers) Local 212 held a fundraiser for the workers’ strike fund and raised over $4,000 dollars.

This shameful banner was posted near the worker picket line by Palermo’s Pizza Company officials on Friday morning.

 

The next morning strikers were just getting their picket line started when Palermo’s Pizza officials posted a banner right along side the worker picket line that shamefully stated, “A Union Will Not Change Your Immigration Status. Only The Right Documents Will”. This move further emboldened the resolve of both the strikers and their supporters who immediately organized to come and show support on the picket line.

Milwaukee educators showed up in full force to walk the picket line with striking Palermo’s Pizza workers.

 

 

 

 

That Saturday morning, MTEA (Milwaukee Teachers Education Association) members showed up at 11:00 to start the worker picket line before any of the striking workers had even arrived. Close to thirty educators and other supporters were already walking the line when the striking workers arrived, clearly invigorated by the unexpected show of support from the teachers. The chants grew louder and the picket line moved more confidently than previous days as the new found support seem to breath life into the workers.

Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein walked the Palermo’s Pizza worker picket line.

 

 

As the number of supporters and workers on the picket line swelled to around 100, another supporter arrived. Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein put on her walking shoes and joined the picket line, speaking to striking workers and voicing her support for the workers struggle.

 

 

Madison’s Solidarity Sing Along joined the worker picket line and later convened a sing along under the 35th Street Viaduct.

 

 

Around noon, about a dozen members of Madison’s Solidarity Sing Along gathered under the 35th Street Viaduct to begin singing pro-labor songs in support of the strike. The timing couldn’t have been better as the skies, which had been threatening rain all morning, finally opened up making the Sing Along’s placement under the viaduct crucial. Striking workers and supporters moved under the bridge where a spirited and unifying sing-along occurred.

Striking Palermo’s Pizza workers and their families held individual LED letters in the Overpass Light Brigade message “BOYCOTT PALERMO’S” on Saturday night.

 

 

Later that night the Overpass Light Brigade took out a message of solidarity with the striking workers to an overpass bridge over I-94 around State Fair Park (More on this bridge action). The message read, “BOYCOTT PALERMO’S” with each individual LED letter being held by a striking worker or family member. The workers were thrilled to participate in this meaningful action that helped get the word out about Palermo’s actions and it once again showed them that they are not alone in the struggle. Seeing public and private workers walking the picket line together is something that is surely very scary to those in power and if we expect to create positive change in our world we need to continue to see this collective action.

This Overpass Light Brigade movie captures the events of Saturday night.

This Occupy Riverwest movie captures Saturday afternoons events.

Please come and join the picket line. The striking workers have proven to be steadfast in their conviction to win this fight but they gain more strength from the presence and support of others and as fellow 99 percenters we owe it to them to help. Here are things you can do to help immediately:

- Donate to the strike fund: https://www.wepay.com/donations/170361

- Sign & share the petition: http://signon.org/sign/tell-palermos-pizza-stop.fb10?source=s.fb&r_by=2739117

- Join the picket line at 3310 W. Canal Street in Miwaukee! Bring supplies (food, water, umbrellas for the sun, signs, music, etc)

- Join the official Strike Facebook page, “Support Striking Palermo’s Workers”

- Spread the word!

For more information about the ongoing strike: www.vdlf.org