Southeast Portland Burgerville Employees Vote to Become the Nation’s First Fast Food Union

After two years of campaigning, workers voted 18-4 to unionize.

Burgerville milkshakes: enjoy them once more, without guilt. (star5112 / Flickr)

Burgerville workers at the chain's 92nd and Powell Street location just voted 18-to-4 to unionize. The store is now the only fast food union in the nation with formal recognition.

Members of the Burgerville Workers Union have been campaigning for over two years to receive recognition from management. Earlier this month, the company announced that it would allow workers at the Southeast Portland store to vote in a National Labor Relations Board-administered election.

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

BVWU, which is part of the international union group the Industrial Workers of the World, hopes to negotiate a raise of $5 an hour for hourly employees, consistent scheduling, child care and affordable healthcare.

"We started the BVWU to try to make things better for ourselves and our coworkers," says Mark Medina, a worker at the Southeast Portland location. "The union is about workers standing up for each other and building a better world."

Since February, the union group has called on customers to boycott the restaurant. Spokesperson Emmett Schlenz said in a statement on behalf of BVWU that the company-wide boycott, "will remain in effect until the union and the company negotiate a fair contract."

Burgerville's senior VP of operations, Beth Brewer says, "Our employees have spoken, we hear them, and we support their decision. We will navigate this new working relationship together in a positive, productive way and bargain in good faith with the union at Burgerville Store #41."

"We are ready to support the nation's first unionized fast-food store," she adds.

Last week, employees at the Gladstone Burgerville also filed for an election with the NLRB. The company's response to that request is still pending.

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

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