Thursday, May 9, 2013

UW-Milw. Will Continue To Sell Palermo's Pizza At Campus Despite Student Protests To Remove Product

Photo: Courtesy of Valeria González

Palermo's Pizza stand closed for renovations for the Summer at the Student Union, but the product will continue to be sold on campus, UW-Milwaukee administration says.

By H. Nelson Goodson
May 9, 2013

Milwaukee, WI - On Tuesday, UW-Milwaukee students (30 to 40 protesters) briefly celebrated in closing down the Palermo's Pizza stand a day earlier before it was scheduled to be closed for renovations. A UWM administrative news web page "Today@UWM" confirmed that the Palermo's Pizza stand had closed a day early due to a student protest at the stand and possible food contamination in the Student Union. Campus police at the site warned students and comminity members supporting the protest to disperse or they would be arrested, cited and students would also face possible non-academic disciplinary sanctions.
On Thursday the Today@UWM reported that, "UWM did not intend to close the pizza stand that day, but because of the presence of protesters in the kitchen preparation area, it was determined that the food in the stand would need to be discarded because it had potentially been contaminated.  As a result, UWM administrators and police announced the stand was being closed. Demonstrators were told they would have to leave or face arrest and, for UWM students, non-academic disciplinary sanctions. Shortly after the stand was closed, the demonstrators dispersed.  The primary goal of UWM Police was to prevent violence and restore normal operations as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of people in the vicinity.
"Because the pizza stand had already been scheduled to close for the summer at the end of business on May 8 due to a major Union renovation project – and because the kitchen area would have to undergo a thorough cleaning prior to reopening – UWM Administrators made the decision not to reopen for just one more day.
"It is important to note that throughout the controversy surrounding the sale of Palermo's products, the UW-Milwaukee Administration has maintained a neutral stance concerning the ongoing labor dispute between the company and workers.
"During the summer months, Palermo Pizza products will continue to be available for sale in the Student Union's "Union Station" store, and in the "Emporium" store located in the Sandburg Towers Residence Hall," the Today@UWM reported. 
Some students vowed to continue their protests to divest Palermo's Pizza products from the UW-System. Other students say, they will boycott the Palermo products throughout campus.
Last month, UW-Madison students protested Palermo's pizza products being sold at the campus and took over the interim chancellor's office. Multiple students were later taken into custody and then released after they were cited. The students demanded for UW-Madison to stop selling Palermo's pizza products. Chancellor David Ward refused.
More protests at UW-Madison are expected from the UW-Milwaukee protest to spread to Madison. The protest in UW-Milwaukee was successful to temporarily shut down a pizza stand selling Palermo's pizza.
An estimated 100 Hispanic Palermo's employees have been on strike since last June after the Palermo Villa Inc. administration fired employees after attempting to organize a union for better wages, safety concerns and more sick time.

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