Workers At Pacific NW's Iconic Burgerville Ratify First Union Contract
Burgerville Workers Vote 92% in Favour of Ratification
Portland, OR — Workers at IWW's Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU) have voted 92% in favour of ratifying their first union contract with the Pacific NW's iconic Burgerville, after reaching a tentative agreement in November 2021. This vote means the standing fast food restaurant is now the first in the nation to be covered by a Collective Agreement.
The contract was ratified by a membership-wide vote at Burgerville locations represented by the union over the last month with over 75% of workers participating. The contract grants exceptional rights and protections to a sizeable fast food workforce and comes after more than five years of struggle and three and a half years of negotiations. The signing of the agreement also ends the boycott called by workers in 2018.
Under the new contract workers will gain access to a three month set schedule, paid vacation time, paid parental leave, improved job safety, and greater job security through 'Just Cause' protections against arbitrary or unfair discipline. In addition to these improvements, previous union achievements such as wage raises, tipping, free employee shift meals and paid holidays will be formally enshrined in the Collective Agreement.
The contract comes after a long period of conflict and negotiations that included numerous strikes, public actions, and federal mediators. Many of the gains, such as changes in dress code and tip policies, are being extended to all restaurants in the company. Chief negotiator for the union Mark Medina says that, "We're proud of the work we've done. This would not be possible without the courage and persistence of Burgerville workers who took action and stayed strong in solidarity with local labor and the community."
Fiona Marten, an organizer with the BVWU, added "It was hard, but next time will be easier. If you're a food service worker and want to make this happen in your workplace, we want to talk to you."
"The ratification process is an organizing process. It's important that workers really understand what's in the contract not just for the sake of democracy, but also to make sure they can use it on day one to protect themselves and build power for the next contract fight" said Luis Brennan, member of the BVWU negotiating team.
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is a labor union representing nearly 9,000 workers across North America. Established in 1905, the IWW is known for its high standards of democracy, transparency, multinationalism, and active use of the right to strike.