The Pizza Chase: Unthinking, Clueless and Stupid Is No Way To Go Through Life
In one of the great scenes from the movie "Animal House", Dean Wormer tells Flounder; "Son, fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life."
I don't know about the fat or drunk part but somebody should tell the kids at UW and UWM who are still upset about Palermo's Pizza being sold on campus that "unthinking, clueless and yes, stupid is no way to succeed".
In 2011, Palermo's Pizza - a great local company - was alerted by U.S. Immigration officials that there were residency issues with about 85 of their employees. When the employees were unable to provide appropriate documentation, they were let go. Had Palermo's continued to have employed workers knowing that they were not legally able to work, Palermo's would have been subject to severe fines from the U.S. government.
Enter immigrant "rights" group Voces de la Frontera. When Palermo's reached out to the group to see if they could help the impacted employees obtain proper documentation, Voces responded by circulating a petition seeking to unionize employees! There is some suggestion that Voces told employees that being in a union would protect their jobs regardless of their immigration status! Yeah, right.
In any event, Palermo's ultimately fired the undocumented workers. A relative handful of other employees went on strike in protest. Replacement workers have been hired and Palermo's appears to be weathering the tempest quite well.
Last week, the National Labor Relations Board soundly rejected claims that Palermo's had fired the undocumented workers in an effort to defeat unionization. This now clears the way for a union election. Interestingly, the Voces folks are planning on appealing the ruling (undoubtedly convinced that they will lose the union vote unless the undocumented workers are rehired and allowed to vote).
Before the NLRB ruling, protesters had been trying to pressure Palermo's to cave in via a number of tactics aimed largely at distributors. So far, Costco (which sells Palermo's pizzas) has declined to remove the pizzas from its stores. A student group at UW-Milwaukee and the "labor licensing committee" at UW-Madison have also called for contracts the respective Universities have with Palermo's to be terminated and for Palermo's pizzas to not be sold on campus.
To their credit, the adults in charge don't appear to be in any hurry to act.
However, the fact that the NLRB has now found that Palermo's did not violate the law with regard to the discharge of the vast majority of undocumented workers doesn't appear to have changed anything for these campus organizations.
Won't somebody please tell the folks at UW-Milwaukee and the folks (including faculty members) at UW-Madison that unthinking, clueless and stupid is no way to go through life?
If you don't want to buy a Palermo's Pizza because you sympathize with the strikers, don't buy a pizza. If you don't want to shop at Wal-Mart because they're anti-union, don't shop at Wal-Mart.
When it comes to taxpayer supported institutions like UW-Madison or UW-Milwaukee though, that's a different story. Put simply, there is absolutely no basis for the UW schools to cancel contracts with a great Milwaukee employer like Palermo's and the idea should be soundly rejected.
For the majority of the allegations against Palermo's, the NLRB found that there was nothing to see. It's now time for the company and the union organizers to have a vote on unionization and then move on.
Meanwhile, my advice is to have a Palermo's frozen pizza. They taste good - and you'll be supporting a good Milwaukee employer!