Part of the ancient Teotihuacán site, pictured right, is now underneath a Walmart, after Walmart [...]
Part of the ancient Teotihuacán site, pictured right, is now underneath a Walmart, after Walmart bribed local officials. Walmart destroys Mexico’s cultural heritage for profit.
Walmart is the biggest private sector employer in the world. Whether they’re undermining wages or building stores on ancient archaeological sites, let’s keep an eye on them.
Bangladeshi garment workers’ union leader Aminul Islam was tortured and murdered in April this year. Support the campaign to bring his killers to justice.
More than 1,000 workers died – and the lives of their families ripped apart - when a factory making clothes for Primark, Matalan and Mango collapsed. Demand that these UK high street retailers take responsibility for their supply chains.
There are four things you can do right now:
The Tazreen Fashion fire in Bangladesh killed 112 workers in November last year. Some brands have compensated family members for their loss, but Walmart and Disney refuse.
Things are heating up with the fight for justice at Palermo’s Pizza in Wisconsin, USA. During a week of action in July a petition with more than 15,000 others was delivered to Palermo’s executives that sent a strong message that the workers won’t stand for unfair treatment of Palermo’s workers. This is a campaign for justice which USi has been following closely and we want to support the workers.
Check our our recent webcast with Brian Rothgery one of the campaign’s organisers:
There is a fantastic website called a Slice for Justice which we encourage all our visitors to check out. The workers also have a Facebook page and twitter account called @PalermosStrike we would encourage you also to check out.
Palermo’s management has continued with its intimidation campaign and misleading public relations ploys. It’s apparent Palermo’s executives will do whatever they can to stop our efforts to get dignity, respect and a voice on the job. As the largest purchaser of Palermo’s products, Costco can put the pressure on Palermo to stand with workers. That’s why the workers are needing your help to keep the heat on them.
Costco has built a reputation on its commitment to a strong Supplier Code of Conduct. A major part of this Code sets forth a “continuing commitment to the protection and improvement of employees’ rights” and allows Costco to audit its suppliers, like Palermo’s, to make sure they are in compliance with the Code.
By asking Costco to take a stand and let Palermo’s know Costco won’t tolerate Palermo’s lack of workplace safety and unfair treatment of workers, we can put pressure on Palermo’s to finally do the right thing for their workers and customers.
Palermo’s Workers Union
Wisconsin Activists Support Milwaukee Pizza Factory Workers on Strike for Workplace Rights and Safer Conditions
Among the new wave of activists who have emerged from the Wisconsin uprising are hundreds of workers at Palermo Villa (or Palermo’s) – a privately-held pizza factory in Wisconsin. Palermo’s is the largest manufacturer of private pizza labels in the country, with products sold at big chains like Costco and Harris Teeter.
Palermo’s employs approximately 280 permanent employees, a significant number of whom are Latino. For nearly a year, these workers have been seeking a voice on the job to address serious concerns, including workplace safety and health hazards, and since May 2012, they have been on strike.
Alarming Workplace Safety Record
In the fall (autumn) of 2011, workers with decades of service approached Palermo’s management to discuss improving fundamental aspects of their jobs including health and safety. Despite their efforts to solve real problems, management refused to meet with them.
- Workers have reported lacerations from machines lacking safety protection, a general lack of training and other chronic unsafe working conditions.
- In the past four years Palermo has paid $7000 in fines to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – including for two instances of worker amputation
A voice for Palermo’s Workers
In the fall of 2011, workers began discussing forming a union to address their concerns. In the petition, workers at Palermo’s also say that they have not been respected as their supervisors laugh and humiliate them.
- They worked with Voces de la Frontera, a Milwaukee based worker center that serves low-wage workers, including many immigrant workers.
- Many workers signed a petition in December 2011 seeking to address problems related to discrimination, health and safety and retaliation for asserting workplace rights and presented it to management.
- In January and February 2012, workers continued to communicate with Human Resources about the concerns expressed in the petition.
- Union organizing efforts continued throughout the winter and spring, accelerating in April 2012
Voice from the Front Lines
“They doctor said I had a herniated disc. The company wanted me to go back to work immediately, but they ended up giving me two weeks off because of the doctor. They pressured me to come back sooner. By the third week, they made me come back to sit at work. Because lack of training, and they wait for accidents to happen to address you. I was not trained when I started.”
– Hector Cortez (7 year Palermo’s Worker)
“Over the years, there has been a constant rising pressure from management to make us work harder, harder and harder. Once, I threw out my back after lifting heavy buckets repeatedly for hours at time and could not walk or go to work for two and half months. The company strongly resisted taking any accountability for the working conditions they created that lead to many injuries on the job…Through a union, we can make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
– Daniel Coamona (9 yr Palermo’s Worker)
“While I like my job, a major problem at Palermo’s is the lack of training. They often have us operate heavy and dangerous machinery with little training. Some machines even lack sufficient safety protections to keep us from being hurt. One day, my sleeve got caught in the machine, sliced open my pinky and I almost lost two other fingers. When accidents happen, they almost always blame the worker. With proper training, the workers can control the machines, but without training the machines control us.”
– Alberto (3 yr Palermo’s Worker)
“This campaign is for union recognition, and that’s what we’re fighting for. We want to improve our working conditions.”
Here’s a link to an article in the Nation which is well worth reading for more information on the dispute: http://www.thenation.com/blog/169218/week-poverty-respect-worker