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Rights Group’s Probe Concludes Palermo’s Illegally Fired Workers

Slice of Justice photo.

A new investigation finds “compelling evidence” that Palermo’s Pizza’s firing of 90 workers at its Milwaukee plant is directly tied to the company’s anti-union practices and was illegal under both U.S. and international labor standards.

The report, by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), says Palermo's Pizza should reinstate—with full back pay—the fired workers and begin negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement if an independent review finds that, at the time the workers petitioned for recognition, the majority of the workers supported a union.

Palermo's Pizza workers, who have been on strike since June 1, are protesting unfair labor practices and demanding safe working conditions, recognition for their union and the reinstatement of 90 workers who were, the WRC report confirms, illegally fired for trying to organize a union. Although a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dismissed a similar charge against the company, the Palermo Workers Union has appealed the decision to NLRB headquarters in Washington, D.C..  

According the WRC investigation:

The timing of the dismissals immediately following the unionization drive, coupled with a range of other anti-union actions by this employer prior to the terminations…provide compelling evidence that the dismissals were the result of the company’s anti-union animus, making them unlawful under both U.S. and international labor standards.

Read the full report and learn more from the Palermo Workers Union at Slice of Justice. Don’t forget to visit and like the Palermo’s Workers Facebook page. You also can donate to the workers' strike fund at

The WRC is an independent labor rights monitoring organization, conducting investigations of working conditions in factories around the globe and independent, in-depth investigations. It became involved in the Palermo case because Palermo supplies frozen pizzas with licensed university logos to several universities that have agreements with WRC.  Those universities agreed to abide by WRC recommendations in terms of their licensees complying with labor standards.

WRC found that Palermo didn’t comply with the relevant labor standards and recommended that it take the following actions to come into compliance with the standards agreed upon by the universities that have adopted these standards.

  • Palermo must promptly reinstate the striking employees it terminated or permanently replaced employees, with full back pay.
  • The company should recognize the results of an independent review of the union’s claim of majority representation. If such a review finds that a majority of the plant’s workers supported unionization at the time the union petitioned it for recognition – prior to the company’s retaliatory dismissals and other violations of their associational rights – the company should negotiate in good faith with the union toward a collective bargaining agreement.
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