Filed under: Action, Labor, Northwest
Members of the Burgerville Workers Union have given corporate 48 hours to recognize the union, or they say that they will file for a union election with the NRLB, an election they claim they are sure to win. If this becomes true, they will become the first fast-food workers in the US to win a recognized labor union.
Today workers from the 92nd and Powell location delivered an ultimatum to corporate: if Burgerville doesn’t choose to recognize the union within 48 hours, the 92nd location will be officially filing for a union election. Since Burgerville doesn’t exactly have a storied history of respecting what its workers want, we doubt they will recognize us in two days. This means that in all likelihood, workers at 92nd will soon be voting on whether or not they want the government to force Burgerville to negotiate.
Workers are more than ready to meet corporate at the bargaining table, and we’re done waiting for Burgerville to do the right thing. The union has expanded, picketed, gone on strike, launched a boycott, and already have majority support at 92nd, and still Burgerville refuses to recognize or even acknowledge us. That’s why it’s time to bring in a new kind of pressure through a union election.
Ultimately that’s what this vote is about: whether to leverage pressure on the company in the form of the government and the NLRB. It’s not about whether Burgerville has or should have a union, because that question was answered nearly two years ago, on April 26th, 2016, when the BVWU went public. We believe that when workers stand together to fight for better working conditions, that’s a union, and that won’t change now that we’ve filed. What will change is that Burgerville no longer has the option of ignoring us.
Provided Burgerville doesn’t interfere with the democratic process of the election, workers will likely be able to vote in about a month. And when we win — because we’re going to win — we will become the first recognized fast food union in the United States. The absolute first. So this isn’t just about workers at 92nd, or even Burgerville workers in general. It’s about history. It’s about proving to everybody who works low wages, everybody who is struggling to make ends meet, everybody who is exploited and disrespected by their bosses, that it’s not hopeless. That a better life is possible. That if we can win here in Portland, then we can win everywhere, from LA to Boston. It’s not just about Burgerville, it’s about the struggle against companies that profit off of our poverty. And when workers at 92nd vote yes in a month, we’ll be one step closer to winning that struggle.