Thursday, May 23, 2013

Members From The Community And Clergy Seek Transparency On Workplace Accident Reporting At Palermo's Pizza


Five members of the community and clergy attempted to meet with Palermo Villa's management to seek transparency of workplace accident reporting and a resolution to ongoing labor conflict.

By H. Nelson Goodson
May 23, 2013

Milwaukee,  WI - On Thursday, a group of labor, public officials, clergy and members of the community, including staff from Voces de la Frontera (VDLF) met outside Palermo Villa, Inc. at 3301 W. Canal St. to request transparency on workplace accident reporting and a resolution to ongoing labor conflict. A five member group was unable to meet with Palermo's management because they didn't have an appointment. They would have to reschedule a date to actually meet with Palermo's management over several issues dealing with transparency and a labor conflict.
In September 2012, Steve Sallman, Safety and Health Specialist  from the United Steelworkers in Pittsburgh, PA requested workplace accident reports for various injuries involving employees who authorized for their accident related records to be release by Palermo Villa. Records are required to be release in 24 hours, according to OSHA. But 21 days later, Laura Johnston, Vice President of Palermo's Villa Human Resources released redacted employee workplace accident records to Sallman. Johnston refused to release the records to Sallman earlier because, there was "no collective bargaining in place, you are not an authorized employee representative." Sallman then sent Johnston the employee authorization release documents and the Palermo workplace accident records were released to the union.
Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued several citations for safety violations and for withholding information about certain safety incidents against Palermo Villa, Inc. totalling $38,500 in fines. VDLF who made the announcement through a news release says, the OSHA fines comes after a 22-year-old man had three fingers amputated by a Palermo's pizza machine on May 7.
VDLF states, 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."
In addition to the numerous citations, OSHA claimed that Palermo Villa, Inc. hid (redacted) information about injuries that should have been reported. 
In a cover letter dated May 17, 2013, OSHA criticized Giacomo Fallucca, Palermo's president and CEO for redacting injury details from a federally required injury log for the period between 2008 and 2011.
OSHA also ordered Fallucca to "immediately provide the original requester copies of the un-redacted OSHA logs."
OSHA is now the second federal agency to find Palermo Villa guilty of violating federal law. The National Labor Relations Board found in November 2012 that Palermo's management threatened and retaliated against workers who sought union recognition and ordered 11 workers reinstated with back-pay, but Palermo Villa has yet to comply with this order, according to VDLF.

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