The Montavilla location of the Pacific Northwestern fast-food chain Burgerville has voted to join the company’s growing union, the country’s first federally recognized fast-food union. With a 15-to-9 vote, employees of the location tied to last fall’s button controversy will now have a seat at the bargaining table.
The Burgerville Worker’s Union has been expanding steadily over the last year, with union representation at locations throughout the city. The union has been voting to unionize location-by-location, starting with the 92nd and Powell location in April 2018. Burgerville workers have successfully unionized four stores, including the Gladstone and Hawthorne locations.
Leading up to the election, Montavilla location employees have reported “anti-union propaganda everywhere,” in the words of employee Esther Mann, specifically referencing daily anti-union emails from the company’s human resources department. It’s not the first conflict between Montavilla management and employees: Last fall, several Montavilla location employees were dismissed for wearing buttons with messages like “Abolish ICE,” spurring months of back-and-forth regarding Burgerville’s button policy and what qualifies as free speech for employees. After rescinding the ban and paying employees back wages, the company decided to ban buttons, inspiring workers to go on strike.
Another secret ballot vote overseen by the National Labor Relations Board will take place at the Oregon Convention Center Burgerville today and Friday. That location was at the center of a large union-busting story after 90 percent of employees who signed a petition requesting voluntary union recognition were reprimanded in some way — including a employee who was suspended without pay while eight months pregnant. Those results should come in Friday evening.
• Burgerville [Official]
• Burgerville Workers Union [Official]
• Burgerville Workers Union [Facebook]
• Burgerville Workers Just Became the First Officially Recognized Fast-Food Union [EPDX]
• Burgerville Workers Went on Strike Amid Button Ban Controversy [EPDX]
• Burgerville Backs Down After Story Breaks Detailing Alleged Union-Busting [EPDX]
• Previous Burgerville coverage [EPDX]