Burgerville Workers in Gladstone Vote to Join Fast-Food Union

The election win comes less than a month after Southeast Portland Burgerville workers made history by establishing the nation's first fast food union.

(Daniel Stindt)

Gladstone Burgerville employees voted yesterday 17-5 in favor of unionizing.

The win comes less than a month after workers at the chain's 92nd and Powell Street location made history by voting to become the nation's first fast-food union.

Related: Southeast Portland Burgerville Employees Vote to Become the Nation's First Fast Food Union

Workers at both locations are members of the Burgerville Workers Union, a group that has been working with the national labor group Industrial Workers of the World for over two years on a union campaign. Numerous labor and activist coalitions, including the Portland Democratic Socialists of America, bolstered BVWU's push to unionize by showing up at pickets and pushing for a company-wide boycott of the chain.

Related: Her Group Rallied Behind the Historic Union Drive At Burgerville. Can Olivia Katbi Smith Harness Portland's Left To Make an Even Bigger Impact?

Gladstone workers filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board on April 18 and a little over a week later Burgerville executives announced their support of a free vote without an NLRB hearing.

Related: Gladstone Burgerville Grants Workers a Union Election

The union victory means Burgerville is now legally obligated to negotiate working terms with employees. Since April 2016, BVWU members have been petitioning for a $5 an hour raise and healthcare, among other things.

"We're excited to join workers from 92nd and Powell in making history," Stefan Stackhouse, a worker at the Gladstone store said in a statement. "We're ready to change things for the better at Burgerville."

Beth Brewer, senior VP of operations for Burgerville, says the first bargaining meeting between the company and the BVWU has been set for May 22.

"While working with a union is new to Burgerville," Brewer says, "we have a long history of going first. It works out well for both our business and the communities we serve."

Until negotiations take place, BVWU says its boycott of the restaurant remains in place.

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