Each year in September, hundreds of supporters give to Interfaith Worker Justice in honor of workers they know and value: the coffee shop barista, teacher, bus driver, secretary and factory worker. During Labor Day weekend and throughout the month of September IWJ prays for and honors those workers.
Jim Cusack, a longtime supporter from Lake Geneva, Wis., chose to honor the factory workers of Milwaukee-based Palermo's Pizza with a donation to IWJ. The workers are on strike fighting for respect on the job.
“As a union worker myself, I feel strongly about businesses taking advantage of workers,” Jim told IWJ’s Executive Director Kim Bobo.
Palermo's has refused to speak with workers since June 1, when the workers—after being threatened and then fired—began the picket at Palermo's.
Cusack joined allies and advocates earlier this year on a delegation to the factory, delivering a petition signed by 15,000 supporters to Palermo's management (who refused to accept the signatures, Cusack said).
“Workers were really being abused, and so we are behind them 100 percent as they exercise the right to organize,” he said.
The workers deserved our support on Labor Day, Cusack told Kim. He honored the workers so that IWJ can to continue support local groups and organizations that provide direct support to workers like the Palermo's factory workers.
“I support the right to organize. So often (management) is taking advantage of the bottom-rung and they are excluded in their recognition of workers,” he said.