Outpost pulls Palermo products from its shelves

Outpost Natural Foods announced it will no longer carry any Palermo’s Pizza products at all three of its Milwaukee locations.

“OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) issued citations against Palermo’s for that inspection made in May, fining the company for several serious safety violations. In light of this development, Outpost has decided to discontinue all Palermo products in all of our stores. This series of events follows our formal adoption of a Local/Regional Vendor Code of Conduct policy. Workplace injuries are unfortunate but common for many companies, and it is tragic when the more serious injuries can be avoided by compliance by either the company or employee,” Outpost said in a statement.

The Outpost decision comes after more than a year of steady pressure from members of the Palermo Workers Union and community allies.

“We commend Outpost Natural Foods for finally making the right decision to stop selling Palermo’s Pizza products,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera.

“Outpost has long-held policies that ensure their animal products are humanely raised and that Fair Trade practices govern the treatment of workers in the global south. So it’s only reasonable that Outpost has a means of holding their vendors accountable for any exploitation of workers rights or safety regulations here in Milwaukee.”

Palermo Villa Inc. was cleared of some allegations by the National Labor Relations Board. However, the company was cited for some safety violations and fined $13,000 by OSHA after a worker had three fingers amputated in a pizza dough mixer.

Palermo’s also recently paid fines of nearly $106,000 in back pay for violations of federal labor law and was forced to rehire employees the company allegedly had fired illegally.

In response to the Outpost announcement, Palermo’s issued the following statement: “We are disappointed, but respect the Outpost decision. In the meantime, consumers will still be able to find our products in many area retail outlets. While all workplace injuries are unfortunate, the facts show that the rate of incidents at Palermo’s is well below the national average for companies like ours. We continue to have ongoing discussions with OSHA staff about these matters and believe that the additional information we are providing will demonstrate our ongoing commitment to workplace safety and that our programs comply with OSHA standards.”

The Outpost stores are located at 100 E. Capitol Drive in Milwaukee, 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Ave in the Bay View neighborhood and 7000 W. State St. in Wauwatosa.

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