It's been five days since Burgerville enacted its brand-new ban on workers wearing political buttons, and employees are on strike.
Around noon today, a group of around 30 Burgerville workers picketed outside of the fast food chain's Montavilla location (at NE 82 and Glisan St.), carrying signs that read "Game On Bugerville" and "Keep Your Word."
Multiple people driving down 82nd pulled over to grab handouts about the strike, as workers chanted: "One two three four, time to pay your workers more! Five six seven eight, union busting's what we hate!"
Perhaps intentionally, the strike coincides with National Cheeseburger Day, a holiday that Burgerville has decided to celebrate by selling $1 cheeseburgers.
This strike isn't just over workers not being allowed to wear buttons that say "Abolish ICE," "Black Lives Matter," or "No One is Illegal" on their uniforms. It's because members of the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU) believe Burgerville management lied to them during contract negotiations. According to BVWU representatives, Burgerville officials agreed to collaborate with its employees on creating a new button policy to fairly reflect the company's values. Instead, BVWU claims the company went forward with a ban without their input. Last week, BVWU a complaint against Burgerville with the National Labor Relations Board for "bad faith bargaining."
“Morals aside for just a moment," said Mark Medina in a BVWU press release. "It’s illegal for corporate to change policies at stores involved in bargaining without consulting the union. Especially after agreeing to collaborate on the policy.”
However, according to Burgerville spokesperson Deborah Pleva, the company created the button policy only after "seeking out input and feedback from employees."
Union members say they will continue to draw the public's attention to Burgerville's negotiating tactics until they see change.