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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

The Vindication of Palermos Part II

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Despite a near-total repudiation of its complaint by the NLRB, the immigrant/unionista activist group Voces de la Frontera is desperately trying to somehow spin a shellacking into a victory. Aaron Rodriguez isn't having it.  In this devastating piece, lays out the extent of Palermo's vindication in the final order handed down Friday (and somehow missed by the dead tree.)

  Even though Wednesday’s unofficial ruling vindicated Palermo’s of the more substantive charges, Friday’s ruling underscored just how Voces’ campaign was steamrolled by Milwaukee’s Regional NLRB.


The following are charges against Palermo's that were dismissed by NLRB's official ruling:

1. That Palermo’s required employees to reverify their work authorizations within an unreasonable time frame as a means to interfere and retaliate against employees engaged in protected activities.

2. That Palermo’s unreasonably accelerated the revivification time period from 28 to 10 days as a means to interfere with and retaliate against employees in protected activities.

3. That Palermo’s engaged a temporary staffing agency and required employees to train the temporary agency workers to chill the employees’ protected activities.

4. That Palermo’s declined to recognize the majority status of a union and refused to bargain with a union.

5. That Palermo’s permanently replaced workers for supporting or participating in a strike.

6. That Palermo’s terminated approximately 75 striking workers for alleged failure to provide work authorization documents despite a letter from ICE’s Regional Counsel that suspended its investigation.

7. That Palermo’s did not require non-striking employees to similarly reverify their work authorization documents.


The crux of Voces de la Frontera’s five-month campaign against Palermo’s Pizza was built on the presupposition that the company had used an ICE audit to thwart efforts to unionize workers. It became the groundwork for eliciting support from the AFL-CIO to stage a national boycott of Palermo’s products. The NLRB’s ruling dismissed their campaign in one fell-swoop stating:

“The investigation established that the Employer [Palermo’s] required the affected employees to reverify their work authorizations in response to the information provided by ICE regarding the forthcoming Notice of Suspect Documents (NSD), as well as the Employer’s general obligations under extant immigration law, and not because of any or protected concerted activities in which the employees engaged.” (underscore mine)

In other words, the firing of 75 workers was a lawful response to “information provided by ICE.” It was not an attempt to stop frustrated workers from organizing.

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