Yesterday, Palermo called in the Milwaukee police to protect them from a kid and a Reverend delivering petitions urging Palermo to treat their workers fairly:
Palermo Villa workers and their allies delivered petitions in pizza boxes to the company’s Menomonee Valley facility Monday afternoon.
Milwaukee police officers blocked the Villa Palermo entrance when the protesters’ delegate, Daniella Benitez, 8, a worker’s daughter, and her escort, the Rev. Joe Ellwanger, approached them with the first box of signed petition copies.
Organizers had originally planned to send a delegation of two labor leaders and two religious leaders, but Palermo would permit only one strike representative on its property, said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant and workers rights group.
Eventually the police officers, following the Palermo administration’s mandate that no child be allowed on company asphalt, carried some of the boxes inside themselves.
“All we want is a voice on the job,” said Raul de la Torre, who spoke on behalf of the Palermo workers’ group before a crowd of workers and their supporters. “Why is the company putting so much time and energy into denying us this basic right?”
Why indeed would the company do such a thing? And it’s not just a matter of disagreeing with the workers trying to form a union, but Palermo actually went out and hired
union busting union avoidance firm Jackson Lewis. Jackson Lewis does not work cheap.
In any case, the National Labor Relations Board has scheduled the union election for July 6th, so we’ll see what happens. If the workers win the union election, I hope that Palermo sits down with the workers and negotiates a fair deal.
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