Milwaukee, WI - The Palermo’s Pizza workers strike against ownership is moving into its fourth week and one thing that’s for certain is that support for the workers is building. A national boycott of all Palermo’s Pizza products is starting to firmly take hold, and according to theuptake.org, SEIU (Service Employees International Union), AFL – CIO (American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations), and USW (the United Steelworkers Union) have all thrown their support behind the striking workers and boycott. Several state politicians have also come out in support of the workers. These types of support and action are necessary to help spread the word but the striking workers have also seen strong support from another local community group helping them to get the word out, the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB).
The Overpass Light Brigade consists of a committed network of activists / volunteers called “holders of the light”. Each holder carries a single brilliantly lit LED letter and assumes their position in a targeted political message, agreed upon days before. These messages are then ceremoniously marched out onto busy pedestrian bridges overlooking busy interstate highways for Wisconsin drivers and passerby’s to see. These bridge actions have become quite popular and an effective way to get underreported messages out to new audiences. This is exactly what OLB has worked to do with the Palermo’s strike and boycott. The OLB’s first effort however was not the usual bridge action they have been accustomed to. Rather, it was an action in which 20 volunteers walked the letters “B-O-Y-C-O-T-T” around the Palermo’s Pizza company grounds, as pictures were taken in different locations. The photos and video created from this action were then disseminated widely through the group’s vast social media network to help spread the word of the strike and boycott.
A week later OLB took out a new message of support for the striking workers, “B-O-Y-C-O-T-T P-A-L-E-R-M-O-S”. They chose an overpass over a busy stretch of I-94, just west of Miller Park, where more than 20 holders of the light showed up. The action was unfolding as usual when nearly forty minutes into the action something unforgettable happened. Fourteen striking Palermo’s Pizza workers and their family members arrived and enthusiastically relieved veteran holders of the light in the message. The workers were clearly moved by the experience and openly appreciative of the gesture of solidarity. It proved to be a very powerful demonstration for everyone involved as well as effective at getting the workers message out. The striking workers who took part in the action quickly expressed an interest in doing a future bridge action, stating that they knew other workers who would want to take part. They confidently claimed they would bring enough striking workers to hold an entire LED message and a date was set for Saturday, June 23rd.
Occupy Riverwest will be on hand for this historic OLB bridge action with the striking workers and we look forward to bringing you to the event virtually through live stream video. We will have two different live-streamers sending video feeds to OccupyWI, where the double footage will be produced into one broadcast for your viewing pleasure. That is, of course, if you can’t be on the bridge in-person to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event. If you can and want to attend this bridge action, contact us or OLB through our Facebook pages with your email address so we can get you on the email list for future OLB actions. The window just below this post will go live this Saturday, June 23rd at 8:20 p. (CST). Just come back to this post Saturday night and watch the live action here.
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