Voces de la Frontera: Fired employees call on Palermo Villa to comply with government decision on reinstatement and back pay

Contact: Joe Shansky (414) 218-3331

Workers file new charges as legislators demand accountability at Palermo’s

MILWAUKEE – Fired Palermo’s Pizza workers announced Monday they have filed new charges against the company, and called on Palermo’s to comply with a government decision to reinstate and provide back pay for nine workers that Palermo’s improperly fired in the summer of 2012.

Palermo’s committed in November 2012 to reinstate nine of these workers but so far the company has only rehired one of the nine. Since then, two more workers have come forward with similar greivances against the company.

“I worked for Palermo’s for many years,” said Joel Encarnacion. “In November the Labor Board determined that I, along with eight of my co-workers, should be returned to work with back pay. It has been five months and we haven’t even received a phone call from Palermo’s.

City Council member Tony Zielinski called for immediate negotiations to resolve the long-standing labor conflict, now in its tenth month.

“I hope that Palermo’s follows through on their commitment to reinstate these nine workers who were wrongfully terminated, especially since they are a company that received tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to create good family supporting jobs,” said Zielinksi.

In a new development, a two and a half year African-American employee who was fired in January announced new unfair labor practice charges against Palermo’s. Terry Cooper did not participate in the 2012 walkout, but remained an active union supporter despite threats that he would be fired for union activity.

“I feel strongly that if I hadn’t exercised my right to try to improve our jobs through helping bring in a union, I would not have been fired,” said Cooper. “Most everyone at Palermo’s would like things to be better but they are terrified of losing their jobs.”

State Rep. Jon Richards announced that he would be introducing new legislation in the State Assembly next week to address the lack of accountability for taxpayer financed loans to companies like Palermo’s.

“No worker should have to endure what these folks have gone through,” said Rep. Richards.