Union workers at three Portland Burgerville stores went on strike Friday, protesting what they call “bad faith bargaining” from Burgerville over contract negotiations.
The Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU) has been pressuring Burgerville for wage increases for over a year, with little result. Burgerville announced earlier this week that they will begin to allow tipping, but an employee SE 92nd and Powell location told the Mercury that "Tips are great, but tips are not a reliable income.”
"Tips mean the customer is subsidizing our paychecks,” continued Mark Medina, the Burgerville worker,” and the company doesn't have to lose any money by giving us living wages."
Employees at the restaurant chain’s storefronts on SE 12th and Hawthorne, SE 92nd and Powell, and NE 82nd and Glisan—a total of more than 50 people—are participating in Friday’s strike. They plan on returning to work Saturday.
According to a press release sent by BVWU Friday, Burgerville workers want a $5 hourly wage increase for all employees, and a starting wage of $15 an hour. Burgerville countered with a proposed $0.13 per hour wage increase five months ago, which the BVWU categorizes as “unacceptable, because it comes nowhere close to meeting workers’ demands for a living wage.”
BVWU and Burgerville were supposed to have another negotiating session this past Wednesday, August 7, but Burgerville pulled out at the last minute, claiming it was doing so because BVWU workers planned to strike that day. Medina told the Mercury that there was “zero truth to that.”
In addition striking, BVWU has also filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against Burgerville for bad faith bargaining.