UPDATE (Nov. 15) — Striking members of the Palermo Workers Union will visit Costco Wholesale Headquarters for the first time since launching a national boycott in August against Palermo Pizza Products which includes Costco’s Kirkland Brand Frozen Pizza. Costco is the largest retailer of Palermo products in the nation and has failed to recognize the boycott of the pizza products despite constant public pressure by Costco consumers and striking workers.
Strikers will lead a rally of supporters including University of Washington students, the M.L. King County Central Labor Council, the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO, working people, community activists and United Steelworkers International Vice President Fred Redmond. The striking Palermo workers are traveling throughout the U.S. to highlight Palermo’s worker abuses and to bring attention to the boycott of Palermo products to Costco customers. The rally will start at noon on Friday, Nov. 16 in front of the Costco Headquarters at 999 Lake Dr. in Issaquah.
TAKE A STAND! Stand up for Palermo’s Pizza workers! Here is how you can help:
1. ATTEND THE NOV. 15 RALLY!
3. “Like” the Support Striking Palermo’s Workers Facebook page.
4. Visit the Slice of Justice action page for more ways to help.
Workers from Palermo’s Pizza, a large frozen pizza manufacturer in Milwaukee have been on strike since June 1, 2012, to protest unfair labor practices. The workers are seeking union recognition and reinstatement after their employer fired more than 80 striking workers. Workers at Palermo are concerned about serious health and safety hazards; they have no sick days and make little more than the minimum wage. After over five months of striking, Palermo workers continue standing strong in the face of employer threats and intimidation.
ISSAQUAH, Wash. (Nov. 9) — Palermo Pizza Factory workers in Milwaukee who make Costco’s Kirkland-brand frozen pizza have been on strike since June 1, 2012. These workers say they face serious health hazards, get no sick days and make little more than the minimum wage. After the workers requested that Palermo recognize their union (United Steelworkers) and bargain over these issues, Palermo fired more than 75 workers.
On Friday, Nov. 16 at noon, all union members are invited to join striking Palermo’s workers, USW officials and community supporters at a rally outside Costco’s corporate headquarters, 999 Lake Dr. in Issaquah. Protesters will be urging Costco, which is generally regarded as a responsible employer, to meet with Palermo’s workers and support them by dropping Palermo’s and its Kirkland-brand pizzas.
The AFL-CIO has endorsed the Palermo’s boycott as part of the continued support for the efforts of the USW’s Palermo Workers Union, community and immigrant rights groups.
“The twelve million union families of the AFL-CIO are proud to stand with these Wisconsin workers who have bravely joined together for a voice on the job,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. “Their courage and strength are a model for working people around the country whose rights are being violated and voices silenced. We hope that this boycott will encourage Palermo to finally respect its workers who work so hard for them every day.”
In addition to the labor movement, University of Washington students who are part of the national United Students Against Sweatshops network at more than 150 universities have been conducting actions on their campuses to demand that Costco pull Palermo’s pizzas from its shelves.