NLRB denies Voces de la Frontera’s appeal on Palermo’s

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The National Labor Relations Board has denied an appeal filed by Voces de la Frontera -- an immigrant rights group representing some fired Palermo's Pizza workers. However, those with Voces de la Frontera say the group is not done fighting.

Organizers for Voces de la Frontera say they accept the NLRB's decision and don't plan to appeal it further. However, they say the company still needs to keep its word.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz says her organization, Voces de la Frontera will continue to hold Palermo's feet to the fire. She says Palermo's fired about 100 workers when the company learned of their plans to form a union.

The company argued the firings were due to immigration laws -- and workers who could not prove they were in this country legally, and legally able to work.

The NLRB has upheld a decision that mostly favored Palermo's, but also ruled that 11 workers that were illegally fired by Palermo's should be hired back.

"Five months later they still haven't reinstated the workers who supported the union, but the law did say should have been reinstated and given back pay. All of that creates a climate of fear," Neumann-Ortiz said.

In a statement, Palermo's president says: "The ruling clears the way for our employees to have their voices heard through a fair and legal vote, and we continue to support that right to choose as we have throughout this process."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett agreed. He said in a statement: "It is my hope that the workers will now proceed with an organizing vote."

Barrett's spokesperson said he was too busy for an interview, but that Mayor Barrett has been very balanced on the issue.

Neumann-Ortiz disagrees, and says the workers who were fighting for better working conditions deserved better.

"I think the mayor lacks the leadershop necessary to bring Milwaukee out of poverty," Neumann-Ortiz said.

Neumann-Ortiz told FOX6 News late Tuesday evening Palermo's workers won't hold a vote as to whether to form a union as they no longer believe the vote can be fair.

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