On Saturday, February 3rd, members of the Burgerville Workers Union, (BVWU), a part of the revolutionary anti-capitalist labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), announced that a third and fourth store had officially joined the strike. Meanwhile, Burgerville Workers Union members also announced a public boycott of the store as pickets continued over the weekend. On Sunday, the union announced that it was ending its three day strike and that on Monday, workers would be returning to work, however the struggle would continue.
Upon announcing the third store to join the strike, the BVWU wrote:
THE STRIKE GROWS AGAIN! Workers at the Gladstone Burgerville have now joined the strike, delivering management their own letter and walking off the job today at noon.
Several unfair labor practices have been filed recently at the Gladstone BV detailing illegal threats against a union member from management as well as a suspicious firing of a beloved union supporter and long-time employee for the alleged theft of two cheeseburgers. The workers across the city are making it clear: We aren’t going to take it anymore, we aren’t disposable, and we have the right to organize!
Thank you to members from the Oregon School Employees Association and the International Association of Machinists Lodge 24 for showing up and delivering words of support for the strikers!
Then a fourth Burgerville store was announced as on strike:
A FOURTH STORE HAS JOINED THE STRIKE!, making the actions since Thursday to become what we believe to be largest and longest fast food strike in Portland history!
They were joined by the Gladstone strikers who showed up to cheer on 92nd workers as they walked off. Special thanks to the members from Unite HERE 8 and UFCW 555 for coming out too!
In a longer announcement, the union wrote about the weekend strikes, the end of the strike, but also on the path ahead:
Over the last three days, workers from four different shops stood up for themselves by walking off the job. Today, the strike officially ends, and people will be going back to work.
Although the strike is over, the struggle continues. What we did was not small—we know how difficult it is to walk off the job. We know the fear, anxiety, and doubt that can come from taking these sorts of actions. We are so, so proud of our fellow workers for their bravery, for standing in solidarity with one another to fight for what’s right.
After going on strike at 92nd & Powell, a union member gave a message of reassurance to his coworkers: “This is an issue between workers and corporate to get a contract. If you come to work tomorrow and some manager tries to guilt trip you into staying for supporting the union, or saying what you did was terrible, they’re guilt tripping you to make poverty wages. You should have no shame to be union strong and union proud.”
Finally, we want to thank all of the community members who came out to this week’s pickets, walkouts, and rally. Without the support of other unions and organizations, our campaign’s successes would not be possible. Everyone else in the community can also support our campaign by pledging to boycott Burgerville until they negotiate with our union. (Details about the boycott can be found at boycottburgerville.com.)
So, today, we go back to work. But we will not stop fighting until we win.
The union has also launched a boycott campaign, asking people in the community not to spend money at Burgerville. The campaign website can be viewed here.
Over the weekend, the strikes brought out hundreds of supporters to various pickets, including members of other union locals who spoke at rallies and participated in walking the picket lines. Historically, the strike represents one of the largest fast food actions in recent history, and while IWW members decide when and where to strike and thus cannot be seen as going on ‘wildcat,’ the strike does represent a major cornerstone for self-organized working-class action.