Statement from Interim Chancellor Ward on Palermo's Pizza issue

Nov. 14, 2012

In recent weeks, there has been considerable discussion regarding a labor dispute between Palermo’s Pizza and some of its former workers.

As we’ve noted previously, it is a complicated situation with great variance in the viewpoints expressed and disagreements about the facts in the case.

Photo: David Ward

Ward

To be clear, UW-Madison is not a party to this dispute. We have the following direct and indirect contractual relationships with Palermo’s:

  1. On behalf of the UW Athletic Department, Learfield Communications (aka Badger Sports Properties) has a sponsorship agreement with Palermo’s that includes radio advertising and some signage at Camp Randall and the Kohl Center.  This agreement allows Palermo’s to sell pizza at Camp Randall and the Kohl Center.
  2. On behalf of the Wisconsin Union, Learfield Communications  (aka Badger Sports Properties) has a sponsorship agreement with Palermo’s that allows Palermo’s to sell pizza in the convenience store and recreation area at Union South. 
  3. UW-Madison has granted a license that permits Roundy’s to use the Bucky Badger logo on pizza sold at some of its grocery stores and affiliates in the Madison area.  Roundy’s, as the licensee of UW-Madison, has a separate agreement with Palermo’s to manufacture the Bucky Badger pizza sold in its stores.

As an institution, we have been monitoring the situation, with particular attention focused on any information that may be made available by the National Labor Relations Board and other similar sources. 

Earlier today, I received a letter from the UW-Madison Labor Licensing Policy Committee – one of our university’s shared governance committees comprised of students, faculty and staff. 

In the letter, the chair of the LLPC, on behalf of the committee, recommends that I put Palermo’s on notice unless it meets demands articulated by the LLPC.  I will review the committee’s request and respond accordingly to them.  In the meantime, we have no plans to take any action.

Finally, we urge all involved parties to continue working toward resolution of this dispute.