In this audio report, we talked to someone with the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU), which is a part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a revolutionary anti-capitalist union founded in 1905. The Burgerville campaign went public in 2016, and in the past several years, has launched a series of strikes, job actions, pickets, and various campaigns in the face of an ongoing anti-union crackdown.
In response to this repression, members of BVWU have built relationships with various local groups and unions, who have in turn brought people to walk pickets lines and often serve free hamburgers outside of Burgerville stores during various job actions. To learn more about this back story, check out our previous podcast interviews with BVWU members here and here.
In this interview, we specifically talk about the recent three day strike launched by BVWU, which grew to include four stores in total who were involved in the strike. Over the course of three days, IWW members picketed stores, encouraged customers not to pay patronage to the business across the city, held rallies which were joined in solidarity with other unions, and also announced the “Boycott Burgerville” campaign.
While certainly not the first or only large scale fast-food worker strike, the Burgerville campaign is historic, and represents the growing capacity of rank-n-file workers to self-organize and take action where they are to fight back against their bosses and conditions in a rapidly gentrifying city.