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Palermo Pizza - Boycotted 8/14

At this time, after reviewing the sales for these products and due to the overwhelming support for the boycott, we'll sell down the product from our shelves, not order any more, and seek a comparably-priced local replacement from another vendor. Depending on the result of the strike, we may consider bringing Palermo Pizza back in at Willy West. Paragraph moved - August 23rd, 2012 - to provide more immediate clarity about our current boycott status

In early June we were alerted to a call for a consumer boycott against Palermo’s Pizza - one of our local vendors. The guidelines of our Boycott Policy are as follows:

WSGC is a consumer co-op; our products are selected based on our understanding of our customers' interest. Should a product or products we offer be the focus of a recognized boycott action, we will post signage informing customers of that action. A thirty-day comment period will begin at the time of the posting. At the end of the comment period, WSGC will use the input to decide what action to take.

Accordingly, we posted signage by the product (sold only at Willy West), put information on our website with the opportunity for website visitors to leave comments, and posted the notice on our social media.

We always seek to give our customer the resources they need to make informed decisions on their purchases. In cases like this one, we want to make an informed decision on whether you want us to keep or drop products that some organizations have asked be boycotted  We consider this an opportunity for Owners to really participate in their cooperative, and we thank all who offered their perspective.

As we neared the end of the original 30-day comment period, we didn’t feel that we had gotten a clear directive – the relatively few comments that we had gotten supported the boycott; but sales of the product did not decrease, suggesting that most if not all of those buying the Palermo’s Pizzas were interested in continuing to buy them. We extended the comment period and posted links to more information in the hope of getting more input. Fortunately we received many more comments after this extension.

Thank you taking the time to learn more about our process, and we encourage you to participate in this and other ways to make your voice heard at Willy Street Co-op.

Older post, updated - July 30, 2012

Because the union vote had been rescheduled to right after our initial 30-day period, and because we wanted to be fair by posting a link to Palermo's position, we are extending our comment period by another 15 days. After this period we will take into account sales of Palermo products (or lack thereof) and customer feedback, and then make a final decision as to whether this product merits space in our store. In the interim, we will continue to educate about the workers strike through signage by the product.

For more information, see these links:

Over 150 workers at the Palermo Pizza company in the Milwaukee, WI area have called a strike after efforts to negotiate a union contract have been unmet by the Palermo management.

Workers cite dangerous and inhumane working conditions and pay/promotion discrimination among their charges. On May 27th, the National Labor Relations Board contacted Palermo and to date this request has been unanswered. A July 6th date has been set for workers to vote on whether to form a union.

This strike is being supported by the following organizations:

  • American Federation of Teachers Locals 212 (Milwaukee Area Technical College-Milwaukee) and 2169 (Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association)
  • United Steelworkers Union
  • United Service Workers Union
  • Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals Local 5011 (Sheboygan, Wis.)
  • Industrial Workers of the World Branch 560 (Madison, Wis.)
  • AFL-CIO (Milwaukee area)
  • Riverwest Grocery Co-op (Milwaukee)

The Willy Street Grocery Co-op Boycott Policy is being applied to these products (currently available at Willy West). A thirty-day comment period has begun. At the end of the comment period, we will use this input to determine the status of this product to be sold in our Co-op. Please share any comments below.