Last week, employees at two Burgerville locations—one in Montavilla and one near the Oregon Convention Center—voted to join the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU). These votes came after continuous anti-union messaging and strategy from Burgerville, as the Mercury reported last week.
Employees at Montavilla voted in favor of unionizing 15-9, while the vote at the Convention Center was 14-7, which BVWU spokesperson Emmet Schlenz called a "very clear majority."
This victory brings the number of Portland-area Burgerville locations in the BVWU to five. The restaurant at SE 92nd and Powell became the first location to unionize last April, making the BVWU the nation's first fast food union to receive federal recognition.
MONTAVILLA VOTES YES 15-9!
We are in for the fight of our lives in negotiations–the struggle for a living wage at Burgerville is anything but easy–but with the bravery and militant spirit of Montavilla workers behind us, we’re confident we’ll win. #1u #BoycottBurgerville pic.twitter.com/TcPD3OMsFB
— Burgerville Workers Union (@BVWkrUnion) April 4, 2019
Since then, Burgerville has consistently targeted its employees with anti-union emails and signs that BVWU leaders call misleading, with little success. While votes to unionize at some locations have been closer than at others, the BVWU has so far not lost a vote to unionize at any Burgerville location.
The BVWU's demands include a $5-per-hour raise for each employee, a better scheduling system, and more comprehensive health coverage. Chris Merkel, an employee at the Convention Center location, told the Mercury last week that the demands are meant to help ease the burden of higher housing prices and displacement on Burgerville employees.
“I have coworkers who commute two hours to get paid $12 an hour with no benefits or health insurance,” Merkel said.
The BVWU will return to the bargaining table with Burgerville this week, PDX Eater reports.