Burgerville is in hot water once again for its treatment of union members and organizers. After a Willamette Week story broke details of alleged union-busting at the Oregon Convention Center location, the company quickly backtracked, rescinding all of the reprimands, suspensions, and firing that took place after the store announced plans to formally unionize.
On March 11, Burgerville employees at the Montavilla and Oregon Convention Center locations signed a petition requesting voluntary union recognition. Days later, employees filed for a federal union election, joining the several other stores that have already unionized this way.
A week later, employees of the Oregon Convention Center location spoke out over several write-ups, two suspensions and one firing that have occurred since the union went public at that Burgerville. According to the union, every single employee that signed the petition has been punished in some way — that’s 90 percent of those employees. Those reprimands include one manager suspending an employee without pay for leaving her name tag at home. She’s eight months pregnant.
In a written statement to the alt-weekly, Burgerville said “all disciplinary actions are based on facts unrelated to the union.” Still, Burgerville rescinded all discipline against those workers within hours of the story breaking. That includes backpay for lost wages.
This is the latest victory for the country’s first federally recognized fast food union, which has only grown since going public in 2016. The union has been hitting roadblocks at the bargaining table, including the company’s counter-offer of a $0.13 raise last month.
The Burgerville Workers Union is also not the only fast-food union in town anymore; last Saturday, Portland burger chain Little Big Burger also announced plans to unionize; the parent company has indicated that it won’t voluntarily recognize that union, and the Little Big Union claims members of management have taken down union posters in break rooms. The fight continues.
• Burgerville Worker’s Union [Facebook]
• Workers at Portland’s Busiest Burgerville Say Managers Are Trying to Bust Their Union [WWeek]
• The Workers at Portland-Based Chain Little Big Burger Are Unionizing [EPDX]
• All previous Burgerville coverage [EPDX]