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The Burgerville Union Drive Keeps Expanding, as Workers Grow Disgruntled by Wage Negotiations

Workers at the chain’s Montavilla and Convention Center locations plan to file for a union election.

Workers at two Portland Burgerville locations—Montavilla and the Convention Center—have announced plans to file for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board.

If workers vote in favor of forming a union at both stores, it would bring the total number of unionized Portland-area Burgerville restaurants up to five. Last April, employees at the chain's 92nd and Powell Street location voted to become the first fast food union in the nation.

According to a statement from the Burgerville Workers Union, workers at both the Montavilla and Convention Center locations claim they work in "intolerable" conditions, "including arbitrary and retaliatory firings."

Burgerville's management disputes those claims.

In a statement, the company says, "No employee has been or will be retaliated against by Burgerville in any way for supporting a union," and that it "respects the right of every employee to support or not support the organization of a union."

BVWU members have also expressed their dissatisfaction over wage negotiations after the company offered workers a 13 cents an hour raise on Wednesday, March 6. For the nine months that contract negotiations have been underway, union members have been asking for a $5 an hour raise.

"Facing such a comically low wage offer at the bargaining table, the Convention Center and the Montavilla workers intend to bring the militant energy they have cultivated at their stores to the contract negotiation process," BVWU notes in a statement. "Workers there are prepared to fight for the wage they know they deserve."

Burgerville execs say they have been "bargaining in good faith."

"We are lucky to be located in a region of the country––Washington and Oregon––committed to fighting poverty through legislation that guarantees a growing minimum wage," the chain notes. "Burgerville's current average hourly wage is $12.23 an hour and it will continue to rise with the state-mandated increases."

Union members say their now 11-month-long call to boycott the restaurant is still in effect.