AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Welcomes Meeting with Palermo’s CEO in Wisconsin

Trumka hopeful for fair and just resolution for striking workers at pizza plant

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–August 21, 2012—AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced today that he welcomes a dialogue with Palermo Villa, Inc. CEO Giacomo Fallucca to discuss the company’s recent actions in response to union organizing efforts among workers at the pizza manufacturing plant in Milwaukee.

“I am encouraged by your willingness to discuss workers’ desire for a voice on the job.”  Trumka said. “It is only through open dialogue that management and labor can reach a just and fair resolution of workplace problems and I am happy to participate in opening such a dialogue.”

Workers from Palermo’s, a large frozen pizza manufacturer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have been on strike since June 1, 2012 to call for a voice on the job and to protest unfair labor violations.  After the workers requested that Palermo’s recognize their union and bargain with them over serious workplace problems, Palermo’s fired over 75 workers. Many workers at Palermo’s face serious health hazards, have no sick days and make little more than the minimum wage.

A week ago, the AFL-CIO joined a host of other organizations in endorsing a national boycott of Palermo’s Pizza.  In CEO Fallucca’s recent letter to Trumka requesting a meeting, he suggests that major Palermo’s customer Costco has been in touch with the company about the dispute.  Costco has a Supplier Code of Conduct that, among other requirements, holds vendors to a high standard with respect to employees’ rights to assemble.  

The Costco code of conduct is premised on the fact that ethical business practices are not just morally right, but good for business. Trumka said, “My own experience shows that through open dialogue representatives of management and workers can resolve even the most difficult workplace issues and create the conditions for mutual success.“

Cesar Hernandez, a former Palermo’s worker who is still on strike said, “I’m happy that Palermo’s is asking the AFL-CIO to open a dialogue with them about our concerns.  We look forward to the day Palermo’s workers can address our issues directly with Mr. Fallucca and the management at Palermo’s through our union. This is an important first step.”