The Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) has published and circulated this flyer calling on its members to form a picket line at the Costco store in Grafton, WI. I became aware of this when a WEAC member emailed it to me with the subject line: “WHY is my union getting involved in this?????”
Good question. The only apparent answer would be they want to interject themselves in this over some notion of “solidarity” with people who want to force unionization on Palermo’s Pizza. Perhaps WEAC is just trying to remind us they’re out there and show it’s still relevant.
Reading it, the aspect of this WEAC action I found particularly troubling is they are outright lying to their members. WEAC is claiming Palermo’s illegally
fired “nearly 90 workers.” In reality, Irv Gottschalk, the regional director for the NLRB office in Milwaukee, was quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
as saying that at most 7 full-time and 2 temp workers were fired “illegally” while the NLRB found the vast majority of terminations were in accordance with a federal audit that began before
a minority number of employees demanded the right to form a union.
Even in Barack Obama’s America, new union locals must take a vote and get a majority of its workers to agree to organizing. Palermo’s management has repeatedly and publicly called for its workers to take a vote
on whether to form a union or not despite this misleading statement from WEAC: “Why should Costco drop Palermo’s? Costco’s own Supplier Code of Conduct says all suppliers must respect workers’ right to form a union.”
Wisconsin saw numerous calls for boycotts and other forms of intimidation during the flap over Governor Walker’s Act 10 debate. Such tactics made a lot of noise, but seemed to backfire more than anything.
I’ve never understood the mentality that drives people to damage the operations of companies for which they want to work. Then again, I’m not a thug.