During that time we have learned the Palermo's has been:
- Hiring illegal immigrants
- Intimidating and threatening workers who were trying to organize into a union
- Received $26 million from Scott Walker's WEDC and other government subsidies to create jobs, but it can not be confirmed if they created those promised jobs.
Radio squawkers cawed and paid hacks blarghed for days and weeks that Palermo's is such a great company and berated and badgered anyone who would try to do the right thing of boycotting the pizza maker until they started treating their workers with respect.
I would expect that these three amigos - Abele, Sykes and Donovan - will make public apologies today and offer to stand with the workers who had their claims of poor working conditions confirmed by OSHA.Per a press release from Voces de la Frontera:
Today the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced major new citations against Palermo Villa, Inc. Members of the Palermo Workers Union expressed alarm over the continued disregard for the safety of workers at the Milwaukee pizza factory, anger at the revelation that Palermo’s covered up years of injuries dating to 2008, and concern for potential dangers to the broader community. Click here to view the OSHA citations.So despite all the yammerings of the right, we find that the truth is that the unions and the workers are again correct.
The news comes in the immediate aftermath of a reported amputation at the factory on May 7th, involving a 21-year old Burmese man who lost three fingers, in yet another machinery accident at Palermo's.
“Dangerous working conditions at Palermo’s drove us to seek union recognition and the ability to address safety issues without fear of reprisal,” said Cesar Hernandez, a Palermo Worker Union member who previously suffered a partial amputation at the factory.
“Union representation would enable workers to establish our own workplace safety committees and address the safety issues that we know are serious, even if Palermo’s is unwilling to do so.”
The new citations issued by OSHA carry fines totaling $38,500. These include seven “serious” violations and one “Other-than-serious” violation for process safety violations surrounding the ammonia refrigeration system. Ammonia is a deadly gas that in large quantities can cause mass casualties. OSHA defines a “serious” violation as existing “when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm”.
Ammonia is used in food production for refrigeration and freezing, and the refrigeration system was expanded in 2011, according to the citations. It was the cause of the West Texas fertilizer plant tragedy last month.
“Palermo’s is located less than a mile from Miller Park,” said Hernandez. “It’s of great concern that the surrounding community could be threatened with potentially catastrophic safety hazards.”
In addition to the numerous citations, the OSHA letter exposed that Palermo’s hid information about injuries that should have been provided. In a cover letter to Giacomo Fallucca that accompanies the OSHA citations, dated May 17, 2013, OSHA criticized the Palermo’s president and CEO for redacting injury details from a federally required injury log for the period between 2008 and 2011.
OSHA called upon Fallucca specifically to “immediately provide the original requester copies of the un-redacted OSHA logs.”
“Everyone who was injured earned the right to at least have what happened to them investigated and analyzed, rather than swept under the rug as though these injuries never happened,” said Steve Sallman, a health and safety specialist with the United Steelworkers.
"Furthermore, the tragic amputation earlier this month may have been prevented if Palermo's had not suppressed employees' lawful efforts to address health and safety issues by forming a union."
OSHA is now the second federal agency to find Palermo’s guilty of violating federal law. The National Labor Relations Board found in November 2012 that Palermo’s threatened and retaliated against workers who sought union recognition and ordered 11 workers reinstated with back-pay, but Palermo’s has yet to comply with this order.
This is why the workers at Palermo's need to be allowed to unionize without any further harassment or threats from the company. This is why we need to continue to put pressure on Palermo's by boycotting their products and to get the stores, campuses and other places to join us in demanding that Palermo's starts acting like the company it claims to be.
And this is why the corporate puppets like Sykes, Wigderson, Donovan and Abele need to shut up and stop proving themselves to be fools. We figured that out already without the constant reminders.
And if you can, please help support the Palermo's workers who have been fighting for their rights for over a year now.