The following report from the Burgerville Workers Union states that management has come down against one pro-union worker of color since the end of the historic three day strike. To learn more about the strike, check out our audio report podcast here.
Burgerville chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day yesterday by retaliating against a union leader. Michelle, a worker at the Convention Center Burgerville who participated in our historic three day long strike, was just suspended by management for allegedly taking a chicken patty without permission.
Though retaliation against union members under trumped up “theft” accusations is a pattern at Burgerville, Michelle’s suspension demonstrates a particularly disturbing underside to that pattern. Along with Arsenio and Canaan, Michelle is the third pro-union worker of color to be fired by Convention Center management in as many weeks, a management which remains entirely white despite the diversity of the crew.
In the targeting of union members of color at the Convention Center, to put it bluntly, we see not only union busting but outright racism. These attacks on our jobs and our families by Burgerville corporate are not just against Burgerville workers, but rather against the rights and power of the Portland community as a whole.
The BVWU does not take this lightly. In addition to Arsenio, Canaan, and Michelle, two other pro-union workers at stores that went on strike have been fired or suspended for similar charges within the last few months. Though Burgerville claims to be an ethical, locally minded fast food company, their wages keep workers in poverty, and when those workers try to better their lives, they are threatened with firing.
In Michelle’s suspension, we see Burgerville perpetuating an atmosphere of fear and racism in order to fight the union, and we are currently in talks with our allies around Portland as well as our legal counsel as to how to best proceed. Please stay tuned – moments like these, when people’s jobs are on the line, are when we need our supporters the most.