Voces de la Frontera: Palermo workers hold local press conference following Washington DC meeting

CONTACT: Christine Neumann-Ortiz 414-736-2835
Brian Rothgery 414-207-8165

Results of Friday meeting between Palermo’s CEO Fallucca and AFL-CIO President Trumka revealed today outside Milwaukee production facility

MILWAUKEE, WI – Striking Palermo’s workers paused their daily picket line in front of Palermo’s, 3301 W. Canal St. in the Menomonee Valley for a brief press conference at 2:30 PM Friday. Workers offered immediate reaction to the outcome of a highly anticipated meeting between Palermo’s CEO Giacomo Fallucca and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in Washington D.C.

The CEO of Palermo Villa, Inc., Giacomo Falluca, agreed to travel to Washington for the meeting after Trumka invited him to discuss the ongoing labor dispute at Palermo’s production facility in Milwaukee.

“We are pleased that CEO Fallucca has agreed to meet with President Trumka, and now we expect a meaningful discussion directly with striking workers. Many of us, myself included, have years of service to this company. We have been marching on the picket line in the hot sun all summer asking for the company to dialogue with us. A super-majority of us petitioned for a union more than three months ago and we want Mr. Falluca to recognize the Palermo Workers Union NOW,” said Raul de la Torre.

Palermo workers have been on strike since June 1. They are demanding formal recognition of their union, as well as immediate re-instatement of all striking workers who were fired.

Palermo’s refusal to recognize the union and the resulting strike action has prompted a national boycott of Palermo products across the country. Numerous labor and community organizations, including the national AFL-CIO and United Students Agains Sweatshops, have endorsed the boycott.

A nationwide Week of Action culminated last Saturday with informational pickets at nearly 30 Costco Wholesale stores across the country. Picketers educated consumers and urged Costco – Palermo’s largest supplier – to support the workers and pull Palermo’s frozen pizza, as well as Palermo’s “Kirkland” brand from their shelves.

“Palermo Villa, Inc. is truly an American success story: taxpayer subsidies worth $20 million combined with the entrepreneurial spirit of the Falluca brothers have produced a growth oriented company. We know who built this successful business – the workers, the taxpayers, and the Falluca brothers all built it together.

“We also know that the only way for Palermo’s to continue to grow is to respect the rights of their workers and earn the trust of consumers. One amputated finger is one too many, and Palermo’s should know that consumers won’t stick with a company that takes shortcuts with worker’s safety or denies worker’s their right to organize,” said Sheila Cochran, Secretary-Treasurer of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council.

The striking Palermo’s workers are maintaining a web site at http://www.sliceofjustice.com