Workers from local fast food company Burgerville are going on strike, holding picket lines and rallies throughout the weekend. The Burgerville Worker’s Union is organizing the protests, with workers from the SE 26th and Powell location and the Convention Center branch walking out during peak lunch hours to join a picket line near the Convention Center.
A representative from the union, which went public in 2016, told Eater, “The impetus to starting the union was that we just want a living wage. You know how rent is in Portland, I have to have two jobs to have a little place. I like this job a lot, I like working for Burgerville, but they just don’t pay enough.” He also mentioned that he maxed out his raises after only three years of working. “I’d like to not have to donate plasma anymore to make rent.”
The union’s demands, as laid out on its website, include a $5 an hour raise, affordable health care, consistent scheduling, and maternity leave. Greg Petix, another employee, told Eater, “What feels so surprising is that they have this image of caring about the community, and the slogan “served with love,” but we’re part of that community. We want Burgerville to treat us with dignity and respect, and part of that is paying us a wage that we can survive on.”
Both representatives also said that labor organizers had been intimidated and fired from Burgerville positions, and that managers removed union posters. Burgerville’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Beth Brewer, gave Eater a brief statement, saying, “Burgerville respects the right of every employee to support or not support the organization of a union.” The company did not comment on the strike or the union’s demands.
The strike includes a picket line from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Convention Center location of Burgerville, followed by a rally at Holladay Park from 4 to 5 p.m., and another picket from 5 to 7 p.m. It is set to continue on Saturday with similar times. The union posted a comprehensive statement to Facebook.