A strike by workers at Portland Burgerville stores came to an end today after management agreed to renegotiate wage proposals with the Burgerville Workers Union.
The strike started on Wednesday, Oct. 23, when workers at four Burgerville stores walked off the job in protest of failed wage negotiations. The BVWU said management's proposal of a $1 an hour raise for all employees at the chain's 41 locations was just an expedited effort to keep pace with state-mandated wage increases.
Burgerville said it took out a $3 million loan to fund the wage increase, and that the loan was not intended to cover state-mandated increases in wages.
Today, the BVWU claimed in a statement that "workers successfully forced the company to agree to negotiate with the Union over wages."
"With a large strike on their hands, Burgerville Corporate agreed to further negotiate over their wage proposal, which they had previously claimed was their 'best, last, and final offer,'" it said. "As the strike was successful in breaking open a new path forward in negotiations, the BVWU agreed to return to work on Sunday."
Burgerville said in a statement that contract negotiations are scheduled to start again next week.
"I sincerely want to thank our employees who kept all Burgerville restaurants open during this time," Burgerville CEO Jill Taylor said in a statement. "We support the rights of all our workers."
The strike's end comes two days after a union picket outside of the company's headquarters in Vancouver, Wash. when members of the far-right protest group Patriot Prayer showed up.
The BVWU pushed the company to denounce the group's support, and in a statement, Burgerville said it is "following due process to investigate any incidences of harassment at its home office in Vancouver."
Update, Oct. 28, 2:30 pm:
In a statement, Burgerville contested the BVWU's claim that it exited negotiations and said that a meeting occurred on Oct. 25, during the strike.
"Burgerville never left the bargaining table," it said. "Negotiations were never suspended due to the strike."
It also said it would not renegotiate wages with the union, but that it would discuss "the criteria by which employees move up the pay scale."
"Burgerville has clearly communicated to the union during bargaining sessions—including the 10/25 session," the company said, "that the recently announced wage increase for all crew members is the company's last, best and final offer."