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Voces de la Frontera: Palermo’s Pizza plant workers strike for union recognition, safe working conditions
6/8/2012

MEDIA CONTACT: JOE SHANSKY (414) 218-3331

Workers Call on Palermo's to Stand Down from Threat to Terminate Employees Today

MILWAUKEE, Wis. --

Over 150 plant employees of Palermo's Pizza, who in protest of union-busting tactics walked off the job one week ago, are calling on the frozen pizza manufacturer to back away from its threat to terminate employees.

Workers state that threats of termination and immigration audits began almost immediately after workers attempted to form a union in order to address safety concerns.

Palermo's Pizza employees operate heavy machinery in the course of their work, but due to insufficient training and management's demand for faster production, workers have suffered injuries on the job.

According an injured Palermo’s worker on strike:

“In my three years at Palermo's, I've seen workers operate heavy, dangerous machinery with little or no training. Some machines lack sufficient safety protections. One day, my sleeve got caught in the machine, sliced open my pinky and I almost lost two other fingers. When accidents happen, Palermo's always blames the worker. Through a union, we can stop unnecessary injuries.”

Palermo’s health and safety record is a major problem. Palermo's Pizza has paid $7,000 in fines to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for unsafe working conditions. In the past four years, Palermo’s has been responsible for three separate incidents of worker amputation. In two of these incidents OSHA fined Palermo Villa for their role in maintaining dangerous work environments. These are significant penalties and indicative of an extremely unsafe working environment.

The Palermo’s Workers Union is demanding that Palermo Villa recognizes the Palermo’s Workers Union, re-instate the workers who were fired or replaced for participating in the strike, and negotiate a fair labor contract.

Already a national boycott of Palermo’s Pizza is underway and gaining traction among consumers, small business owners, and working people. Palermo’s Workers Union is also asking the public to support their campaign by helping to contribute to a strike fund. In less than a day hundreds of supporters from across the nation have also signed an online petition to support the workers. Both the petition and strike fund information are available at http://www.vdlf.org

"No worker should be fired for having the courage to form a union in order to address troubling safety concerns," said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera. "These workers deserve to have a voice and a safe place to work. It's time for Palermo's to stop this worker intimidation."


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