Voces de la Frontera: AFL-CIO endorses nationwide boycott of Palermo’s products

CONTACT: JOE SHANSKY (414) 218-3331

National support for striking Latino and immigrant workers grows as pressure on Palermo’s largest retailer increases

National support grows for striking workers at Palermo’s, a large frozen pizza factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where workers are entering their third month on strike in their struggle for a voice on the job and safer working conditions.

As of today, AFL-CIO, which represents over 12 million union families, has officially endorsed the national boycott. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote a letter to COSTCO asking them to conduct an audit of Palermo’s to investigate their compliance with COSTCO’s labor rights’ standards. “We stand proudly with Palermo workers in their struggle to build a better life for themselves and their families,” he said. “They continue to inspire working families everywhere in using their collective power to stand up to corporate intimidation tactics.”

The Palermo Workers Union struggle has already achieved an important victory for the rights of immigrants in the workplace nationally, when Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) suspended an audit in recognition of the existing labor conflict.

While workers await a historic decision on the part of the National Labor Relations Board, the workers and supporters have launched a national boycott of Palermo’s products. They are asking COSTCO, Palermo’s largest purchaser of frozen pizzas, to pull Palermo/Kirkland frozen pizza from its shelves based on Costco’s Vendor Code of Conduct which “is committed to protecting the working rights and safety of the people who produce the merchandise it sells.”

The national boycott campaign kicked off at Costco in Middleton, Wisconsin on July 29th during the United States Student Association Congress. According to Sean Orr, a YES leader that was part of the delegation that attempted to meet with local COSTCO management, but was denied a meeting on the topic: “We hope that COSTCO will agree to meet with other delegations and not turn a blind eye to requests from COSTCO members and the broader community to suspend Palermo products and investigate these labor violations.”

National solidarity actions grow, as supporters in ten cities have already joined the national boycott actions at COSTCO stores for August 11th: Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Washington DC, Montgomery, Gary, Pittsburgh area, Phoenix, Madison area, and in Wisconsin- Pewaukee, Grafton and Middleton.

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