Gladstone Burgerville Joins Southeast Portland Store in Filing For Election to Unionize

Gladstone workers say they were denied voluntary recognition by management and so are seeking a formal election to unionize.

Employees at the Gladstone Burgerville today filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The election request is separate from the upcoming April 22-23 union vote at Portland's 92nd and Powell location.

Related: Southeast Portland Burgerville's Vote to Unionize to Take Place in Two Weeks—But Until Then, Union's Call to Boycott Remains

Emmett Schlenz, a spokesperson for BVWU, says Gladstone workers announced their membership to the union organization to management last December and asked for voluntary recognition—which they did not receive.

"We need a raise, we need tip jars," said Skye Knoche, a Gladstone Burgerville employee and union member who has worked for the chain for three years. "It's time to negotiate."

Schlenz says that workers from Gladstone have been active in BVWU's strikes, including calling on customers to boycott the restaurant until union demands are met. That call to boycott—at both the Portland and Gladstone stores—is still in place.

Schlenz adds that following their participation in a February 3 strike, "Gladstone workers have undergone a particularly intense union busting campaign, including threats of disciplinary action for union activity, a suspicious firing of a union supporter, and retaliatory scheduling practices."

BVWU, which launched April 2016, is hoping that a "yes" vote at either location will launch the first-ever federally recognized fast food union in America.

Related: After Over a Year of Campaigning, Burgerville Agrees to Allow Employees to Vote to Unionize

"Burgerville workers are making history here," the union said in a statement earlier this month. "Proving to the world that fast food workers can change their lives for the better."

Beth Brewer, Burgerville's vice president of operations, says the chain "respects the right of every employee to support or not support the organization of a union."

"Once Burgerville has been notified by the NLRB that a petition for an election has been filed," Brewer says, "Burgerville will abide by the NLRB's decision and guidance."

In response to claims that the company retaliated against employees participating in union activities, Brewer says, "there have been no findings to date by the NLRB against Burgerville in violation of any employee related matters. Burgerville is proud of its working relationship with its employees."

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