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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Diversity Committee urges Ward to take action against Palermo's

Members of the Associated Students of Madison Diversity Committee signed a petition at a meeting Monday urging Chancellor David Ward to take action against Palermo’s Pizza after employees accused the company of labor rights violations.

According to Working Class Student Union President Dena Ohlinger, the Labor Licensing and Policy Committee and other groups advised Ward to cut ties with the pizza brand Palermo’s. The call came after allegations that workers were terminated in early 2012 because they tried to form a union, and employees said they had been subject to unsafe working conditions and abuses such as months of work without a day off.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a $200,000 contract with Palermo’s, allowing the company to sell pizza at Camp Randall and the Kohl center and to use the Bucky Badger logo on certain frozen pizzas. Ward has taken no action against the company.

Diversity Committee members signed a petition asking Ward to cut ties with Palermo’s and to prohibit the company from using the Bucky Badger logo. Members at the meeting also expressed an interest in helping groups such as WCSU that have worked to raise awareness of the issue throughout the year.

“Hopefully we can use our resources as Diversity Committee to flood Chancellor Ward’s email, or stage conferences, or whatever it needs to be,” Committee Chair Mia Akers said.

Akers said many of the issues surrounding the Palermo’s controversy relate to the Diversity Committee’s interests.

“It has to do with human dignity [and] respect,” Akers said. “I think it’s really important that we can send a clear message to the chancellor that we do not support a company that is exploiting [the] working class.”

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