“Ruling class groups keep themselves separate so that the masses cannot know who they are and how they really live. Most importantly, separation allows them to live the fantasy that there is no connection between their opulent lifestyles and the misery these lifestyles produce. They live in states of denial and deflect attention away from the imperialist violence enacted in their name globally to protect their class interests. However, they have no difficulty asserting the fas-cist thought and action needed to protect their wealth when they feel threatened. It is this link that makes their ruthless allegiance to a class hierarchy where they are on top a danger to us all.”—bell hooks, Where We Stand: Class Matters (pgs. 78-79)
Authors like Roland Barthes, Erving Goffman and Arthur Frank have investigated the nature of the lecture in traditional classrooms. By traditional classroom I am indicating a situation where a lecturer is engaged in delivering an informative lecture with the possibility of taking questions and comments from the students and imagine this activity occurring within a typical classroom with desks or seats, a teacher’s desk up front (with its usual paraphernalia such as overhead projectors, media, chalkboard). These writers, especially Frank, investigate the role of lecturing not only as a pedagogical tool but as a practice that involves psychological interaction between the student and the instructor.
Although Roland Barthes and Erving Goffman have written insightful descriptions of the lecture as a textual and performative process, it is the work of Arthur W. Frank in his essay Lecturing and Transference that I will focus on here. What these writers all share is the insight that the lecturer presents not only an informational text – the content of the lecture – but also a supplement that crystallizes around the presence of the lecturer. For example Goffman describes the animator as the aspect of the lecturer that is over and beyond the mere information of the text. The lecturer communicates not only the information of the lecture but the status and authority of his embodied presence.
On May 30, workers filed a petition with the NLRB seeking an election to win union recognition as the “Palermo’s Workers Union.” In a meeting that day with workers and their supporters, the company announced that the window for reverifying work authorization would be reduced to 10 days. The next day, more workers went on strike, and a union attorney filed the first NLRB charges of illegal anti-union tactics against Palermo’s.
The most recent NLRB charges concern what happened a week later. On June 7, in what experts described to the New York Times as an unprecedented move, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it was suspending immigration enforcement at Palermo’s, presumably to avoid tainting the results of the NLRB election. But on June 8, Palermo’s sent letters to 75 workers saying they were being terminated. (Some striking workers allegedly had been fired as early as June 2.)
…While terminating strikers, Palermo’s has hired 82 new workers, according to an NLRB stipulation reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
“We want people to know that it’s not what the company says, that ‘Palermo’s is a family,’” says Caesar Hernandez, one of the strikers fired by the company. “They only say that to keep up a good image for the public. But really, internally in the company, it’s a very ugly atmosphere. There is worker mistreatment, racism, humiliation.”
…“People are very fearful,” says Raul de la Torre, another fired striker. (Both Hernandez and de la Torre were interviewed in Spanish.) He adds that workers who had supported the union petition, but never went on strike, are now “both confused and afraid. When you talk to them, they’re saying, ‘No, I don’t want to know anything about the union.’ They want to protect their jobs. But we’re not going to give up the struggle. Because we know if we’re victorious, they’re going to be the beneficiaries.”
I should have been posting about this more, since the strike has been going on all summer. (I’ve been rather discombobulated of late.) Labor Notes also has more info. As I understand it, strikers are asking customers not to buy Palermo’s pizza. Costco sells the brand nationally, but I don’t know which other chains sell it. I’ve never bought the brand, so there’s no adjustment for me. Some local Madison labor activists hope to see this turn out well for the workers, since unions are practically non-existent in the private sector.