Wednesday’s ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) delivered a major setback to Voces de la Frontera’s (VDLF) five-month caustic campaign against Palermo’s Pizza. Voces de la Frontera, a union-centric advocacy group, alleged the pizza company used an ICE audit to stymy worker efforts to unionize. Early on, Chris Dresselhuys, spokesperson for Palermo’s Pizza, said allegations of union busting were manufactured by Voces and that efforts to organize a union materialized only after Voces learned of the ICE audit.
The NLRB ruling appears to support Dresselhuys’ claim. Irv Gottschalk, regional director of the NLRB, said, “The claim [made by Voces] was that all of this was really in retaliation for union activity. And my conclusion is the evidence didn’t show that.”
On May 27, 2012, Palermo’s legal counsel notified VDLF of the ICE audit and asked for help getting the proper documentation of their employees in order. The news left Christine Neumann-Ortiz scrambling — not to help employees with documentation — but to collect signatures for a union petition.