Union Support For Palermo’s Workers’ Strike Tops 15 Million People

Palermo’s workers have now been out on strike for more than three weeks because strikers say management refuses to recognize their newly formed union, Palermo’s Workers Union, as a legitimate bargaining unit.

Strikers say management has used several intimidation tactics to break the union organizing efforts.  Including, checking immigration status (which was stayed for the time being by Immigration and Customs Enforcement), threatening termination of employment for union organizing efforts, bringing in replacement workers, the temp agency Palermo’s contracts through has threatened temp workers with blacklisting if they join the strike efforts and put a banner on the Palermo’s property that says in English and Spanish: “A union will not change your immigration status, only the right documents will.”

In the video embedded in this story, Orlando Sosa discusses the hardships of being on strike but why he remains on the picket line and how he feels about the continued reaction of management to the union organizing efforts. Also in the video, Gerry Miller of United Steel Workers local 1343 discusses why he supports the Palermo’s strike.

Palermo’s workers continue their strike with growing support from elected officials, community groups and labor unions.

Milwaukee City Assembly members Marc Pocan (78th Assembly District) and Jocasta Zamarripa (8th Assembly District) are both publicly supporting the union organizing efforts of Palermo’s workers.

Community groups include Nuns on the Bus, who made a visit Wednesday to the picket line to show support; Occupy Milwaukee; Occupy Riverwest; the Overpass Light Brigade; Voces de la Frontera and the Riverwest Co-op has officially boycotted carrying Palermo’s products.

Labor Unions that are supporting the strike are:

*Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) local 998, 1,200 members

*American Federation of Teachers (AFT) local 212 MATC, 1,400 members

*South Central Federation of Labor (representing 94 labor organizations) 30,000 members

*American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) national, 12 million members

*Service Employees International Union (SEIU) national, 2.1 million members

*Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA) 8,000 members

*United Steelworkers Union (USW) international 950,000 members (members of USW local 1343 have been walking the picket line with Palermo’s workers for weeks)

*Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals, 3,000 members

Other supporting unions include AFT local 2169, Ironworkers local 8 and Industrial Workers of the World Industrial Union Branch 560.

Tracey Pollock

Tracey Pollock, a native of River Falls, Wis., studied journalism at UW-River Falls and finished her education at UW-Milwaukee with a focus in sociology. She is interested in covering social justice issues and shedding light on issues in a way that corporate media will not undertake. Pollock lives in Milwaukee, where generations of her family have resided. She enjoys the local music scene, bicycling and camping.

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