“We don’t want no sweatshop pizza!” chanted over 70 students as they picketed in front of a DC-area Costco. USAS members from 33 campuses across the country and USAS Alumni & Allies Association supporters converged on the store to protest the company’s relationship with Palermo’s Pizza, which makes frozen pizza sold under Costco’s Kirkland brand.
Workers at the Palermo’s plant in Milwaukee, WI have been on strike since June 1 in response to dangerous working conditions and attempts by company management to bust the newly-formed Palermo Workers Union.
In addition to picketing in front of the store, a delegation of USAS members confronted management and delivered a letter to the company, while others distributed flyers to customers and performed street theater about Costco’s ties to Palermo’s. Lingran Kong, a student at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and a USAS Regional Organizer, noted that students are eager to expand the boycott to their campuses when school begins. “Students will be outraged when we start spreading the word about Palermo’s union busting,” she said.
The strike is the highest-profile union fight since the protests against Wisconsin Republicans’ explosive new law attacking public workers’ unions. USAS members in Madison were on the front lines of that struggle, occupying the Capitol and working tirelessly to mobilize thousands of their fellow students.
More recently, the Student Labor Action Coalition, the USAS affiliate at UW-Madison, has protested at a nearby Costco and joined workers on the picket line in Milwaukee. USAS fully supports the boycott of Palermo’s products, and will continue to demand that Costco sever its relationship with this irresponsible company.