Radicals Try to Destroy a Wisconsin Business

The saga of Palermo’s Pizza continues.

When Palermo’s announced they were going to build a new production facility in the Milwaukee in 2005, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett actually made the announcement. They were to be the first major employer to locate operations in the previously blighted corridor of Wisconsin’s largest city and the move put Milwaukee, and its Mayor, in the best possible light.

Yet, when Palermo’s was targeted by a notorious lefty activist group seven years later, Barrett was AWOL.

On February 17, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alerted Palermo’s Pizza that they would initiate an audit in compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act. The following month, the company provided DHS with the I-9s of all 394 employees.

Some details:

On May 10, 2012, Palermo’s is informed that the employment eligibility of 89 employees could not be verified. May 30, ICE sent an official “Notice of Suspect Documents” informing them that suspected employees needed to “present valid identification and employment eligibility documentation” or be subject to escalating civil and criminal penalties.

On May 29, 2012, Palermo’s notifies 89 employees what was required by ICE, but not before reaching out to Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. Chris Dresselhuys, spokesperson for Palermo’s Pizza, told El Conquistador that in their naiveté, they believed Voces to have the necessary resources and resolve to help their employees get proper documentation. While Neumann-Ortiz was agreeing to help Palermo’s Pizza, she was also meeting with employees to file a petition to organize a workers’ union. (Two days after notified by Palermo’s, Neumann-Ortiz filed a request with the NLRB for a union election.

On June 8th, in compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, Palermo’s Pizza terminated eighty-seven tenured employees whose workplace eligibility could not be verified by ICE.

For complete background on the strife at Palermo’s, see the rest of that post, here: Voces de la Frontera butts heads with Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

With a series of public, and it turns out baseless, allegations made against a major employer in his city, Barrett waited until the NLRB recently sided with the employer before offering a statement that said, well, nothing: Mayor Barrett calls for Palermo Villa union election.

And now, the Communists have joined the anti-Palermo’s parade, see the People’s World... (what, you don’t read that daily like I do?)

Of course, they’re just following in their Big Labor comrade’s footsteps.

As Aaron Rodriguez reports today:

In the past six months, Voces de la Frontera miscalculated their ability to coerce Palermo’s Pizza into unionizing. They saw a brief opening to use an obscure memorandum of understanding to block ICE from finishing its audit, leveraging panicked immigrants into supporting a union election. The strategy not only backfired, it has caused much angst in a Hispanic community that wonders why an immigrant rights group would sell out their own for the cause of labor.

Palermo’s is a great company that treats their workers well and makes a great product. But they are under attack.

Supporters of American Free Market Capitalism would do well to check them out.