Portland, OR: Burgerville Workers Union Pickets and Expands Into More Stores

554

On Wednesday, January 24th, the Burgerville Workers Union (BWU) held its first picket of 2018 outside of a Burgerville store in Portland. BWU is a part of the revolutionary anti-capitalist union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and in the past year has grown to include workers in a variety of stores across the chain. Burgerville, which brands itself as a “local” and “woke” large fast food corporation, has refused to negotiate with BWU, and has even hired anti-union goons in an attempt to stop the IWW, as well as firing various organizers over trivial incidents.

Members of Burgerville Workers Union wrote about the picket, which brought out members of other unions, who in turn brought an iconic inflatable rat named “Scabby,” a fixture at labor demonstrations. Members of BWU and the Carpenters Local 1503 also served up free burgers on a grill in order to encourage people not to spend money at the restaurant. Here is their report from the picket as posted on their Facebook:

Our first picket of the year kicked off 2018 right: faced with yet another strong picket, Burgerville CLOSED THE STORE for the duration of the action for a suspicious “maintenance inspection.” This is the power of workers and the community coming together to show that we can and will continue to shut union-busters down!

Additionally, Burgerville management REFUSED to let community members deliver tips they collected on behalf of the workers on shift. We are shocked and disappointed in Burgerville’s commitment to “maintaining” a policy of poverty wages without tips, directly denying workers a little bit more of the money we need to survive.

In the last year and a half alone, Burgerville workers have filed 34 unfair labor practices against the company that detail the company’s retaliation ranging from intimidation, to coercion, to obstructing communication, to surveillance, to threats of discipline against union members. Despite all this, two stores have gone public just in the last month and we have a thriving network of supporters. We’re looking forward to celebrating the union’s exciting growth with a party and celebration of art on Friday night! So many thanks again to all of our supporters and union members who braved the cold and rain to turn out tonight. Special thanks to the Carpenters 1503 for turning out in a big way (like they always do!) to help BVWU members provide free union-made burgers to hungry workers, picketers, and passersby.

Free, union-made food is prepared outside of the store during the picket.

The Burgerville Workers Union is also growing, as it was announced only several days ago that workers at another store in the franchise were joining the union. Again, from the BWU Facebook page:

Hawthorne has joined the union! Today, workers at Burgerville 32 presented a letter to management with demands for a living wage, consistent scheduling, tips, and an end to E-Verify and ICE collaboration. This comes about a month and a half after workers at the Gladstone Burgerville announced their membership in the union, demonstrating our growing power. All solidarity to the workers at Hawthorne!

Check out these upcoming BWU events and follow them on social media.


Liked it? Take a second to support It's Going Down!