Over 60 union organizers and community members joined dinner-hour picket lines at two Burgerville restaurants here June 6. Picketers blocked both entrances of the Burgerville at the Convention Center and convinced hungry Portlanders to drive away in solidarity with the Burgerville Workers Union.
In 2018, BWU became the first officially recognized fast food union in the U.S., and employees at Burgerville have waged a boycott for over a year to demand a livable wage. They say some progress has happened on noneconomic proposals, but when it comes to wages, management is stalling and dismissing their demands. BWU plans on persistence — more pressure, more pickets.
One worker who spoke at the rally during the picketing called conditions at the chain “intolerable.” Protesting employees are waging struggles to keep their jobs, despite the danger of being fired or harassed by management.
Since the first Burgerville unionized, a handful of other locations have joined the BWU or are in the process of voting to unionize. The restaurant chain has increased its pressure on the workers and has advanced anti-union strategies with each new vote.
The BWU says this is clear evidence of the power of workers taking collective action. Their statement reads, “When we fight, we win.”