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No sign for Palermo’s Pizza, a symbol of boycott success

By Tiffany Strong

Dec. 13 protest in front of the Palermo' stand at U of W Milwaukee.

Milwaukee, WI- On Dec. 13, 40 student activists joined together for an action to escalate the campaign to end the selling of Palermo’s pizza on campus. The students held banners and signs reading “Boycott Palermo’s,” held mic checks and gave students passing by informational flyers on the boycott and strike.

The activists first took action in front of the Palermo’s stand in the food court and then proceeded to the dorms where the restaurant operations director recently moved his office. There, protesters performed mic checks and made statements demanding the removal of the pizza from the dorms. They finally made their way to the administration building, Chapman Hall. Unfortunately, Chapman Hall was locked down with security waiting, so the action took place outside of the building. The students then went back to the starting point to wrap up. Meanwhile, the Faculty Senate voted on and passed a strongly worded resolution to discontinue the sales of Palermo’s on campus. The university chancellor was in attendance at the meeting.

Since the Dec. 13 action and the passing of the Faculty Senate resolution, administrators removed the Palermo’s sign and changed the pizza marketing strategy. The signs at the stand now just simply state “Pizza” and they are selling both Palermo’s and Freschetta pizza. The price of Palermo’s pizza has been lowered to match that of Freschetta, which was originally sold at a separate location in the Union.

A couple of protest organizers talked to the manager to find out whether or not they will continue to sell Palermo’s once the inventory from this semester has run out. The pizza stand manager stated that they would continue to order Palermo’s products to allow customers to make the choice to buy scab-made pizza.

The removal of the Palermo’s sign is a victory since restaurant operations and administration have felt the need to discontinue the marketing of Palermo’s. However, because they are still ordering and selling Palermo’s products, the fight continues. On Dec. 20 and 21, organizers delivered letters to the director of auxiliary operations and restaurant operations staff, reminding them of the importance of removing the Palermo’s products and that the campaign will not end until they do so.

Youth Empowered in the Struggle and boycott coalition organizer Jorge Maya stated, “Although it was finals period, students gathered to make one last push for the campaign to get Palermo’s off of campus. The action had great impact it seems, they took down the Palermo’s sign, which is a small step [towards victory].” The UWM Student Boycott Coalition for Worker’s Rights plans on continuing the campaign throughout the winter break and next semester, until Palermo’s is finally off of their campus.

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