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UWM students say 'No justice, no pizza!'

By staff |
November 19, 2012
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Milwaukee, WI - The UWM Boycott Coalition for Workers Rights, made up of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES), AFSCME, Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association (MGAA), Alliance of History Graduate Students (AHGS) and others joined together this summer to halt the sales of Palermo’s Pizza products on the University of Milwaukee (UWM) campus.

The group started a massive campaign on campus, flyering and educating students about the Palermo's workers’ struggle and meeting with UWM administration and the director of UWM restaurant operations to talk about a campus-wide boycott of Palermo's products.

At the same time, various student governments around the country passed resolutions of solidarity to support the boycott and to stop sales of Palermo's products on campuses. The UWM Boycott Coalition for Workers Rights created a resolution in September to be voted on by the Student Association of Milwaukee, the governing organization of the UWM student body. The resolution calls upon the UWM administration to stop the sale of Palermo's products until the labor dispute is resolved.

Coalition members gathered over 1000 signatures from students in support of the boycott. Graduate and undergraduate students, UWM alumni and UWM faculty and staff members all stood with the strikers, many of whom spoke to the Student Association Senate on working conditions within the Palermo's factory and on the Palermo's family's attempts to undermine the right to unionize.

After a long struggle, the resolution finally passed at the Nov. 19 Student Association meeting. UWM student Hannah Engber, who attended the meeting in support of the resolution, said, "I believe that workers’ rights are imperative to a functioning society. As students we have an obligation to fight for our future and the future of all workers.”

Organizers say there is more work to be done. Tiffany Strong, an SDS member and Student Association senator, has been integral in communicating the students’ voice on this issue to other student senators. She said, "There is still much work to do. We first must make sure that the Student Association of Milwaukee and the administration stop the ordering and selling of Palermo’s. Also, as organizers, we have to continue petitioning and reaching the student masses and continue the fight, for this is only the beginning. The workers’ struggle is the student struggle!”

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