from Wisconsin State Journal, April 30, 2013
by Dan Simmons
Protesters surround and observe a police van outside the UW-Madison chancellor's office during a protest Monday against the university's business ties to Palermo's Pizza, which protesters accuse of unfair labor practices. Photo: Dan Simmons
Bascom Hall at UW-Madison was closed early to general access Monday because of a protest inside and outside the building against the university's business ties to Palermo's Pizza, which protesters accuse of unfair labor practices.
A dozen protesters with Student Action Labor Coalition entered the reception area outside the office of David Ward, interim UW-Madison chancellor, around 2:15 p.m. and locked themselves in the room, refusing to come out until after 5 p.m. when police barged in and briefly detained them. Most were released without being cited. One was cited for resisting arrest and trespassing before being released.
Ward was in his office at the time the group entered but left shortly after for a meeting, escorted by police out a side entrance, said university police spokesman Marc Lovicott.
In November, the university's Labor Licensing Policy Committee said Palermo Villa Inc., maker of Palermo's Pizza, was in violation of the university's code of conduct. Palermo's workers have been on strike for 11 months. The company has a license to use the UW logo on its frozen pizza products.
Ward, in a statement, pointed to a National Labor Relations Board review that found many of the allegations against Palermo's were unsubstantiated.
"While we acknowledge the viewpoints represented by UW-Madison students and the Workers' Rights Consortium, we believe that cutting ties with Palermo's at this time is not warranted based on the facts," he said.
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