The Burgerville in the Montavilla neighborhood of Northeast Portland will remain closed through Monday, July 13, after workers went on strike over COVID-19 concerns. An employee at the restaurant tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, July 7.
The Burgerville union announced on Facebook Friday that the Montavilla staff went on strike to refuse unsafe working conditions. The store has remain closed since the worker at that location tested positive for the coronavirus.
Staff demanded that management test all employees before reopening again and guarantee paid time off for workers who were exposed to the virus.
The Montavilla workers began their strike Friday, refusing to show up to work. Hours later, the union announced the store closure would extend until Monday.
"We win! Today, Montavilla Burgerville workers went on strike to refuse unsafe working conditions and Burgerville was unable to open. Today, we showed workers run Burgerville," the union wrote. "However, OPENING ON MONDAY STILL DOES NOT MEET OUR DEMAND. We demand paid time off until everyone in the store can be tested or be in quarantine for two weeks. We also demand hazard pay for the duration of the pandemic."
Burgerville spokeswoman Hillary Barbour said in an email statement to WW that any employees who worked with the infected worker during their last shift on July 2 were given two weeks' paid quarantine leave. She said the company will also pay for voluntary coronavirus testing for anyone who worked within 14 days of the infected employee.
"Burgerville takes seriously the health and safety of all its employees and customers," the company said in a statement. "All employees undergo wellness screening questions and temperature checks before every shift, practice social distancing in the restaurants, and follow state mandates for mask wearing inside the restaurants."
To date, fast food restaurants in Oregon haven't been major hot spots for COVID-19 outbreaks compared to other workplaces like food processing plants.
The state currently reports two active outbreaks at fast food eateries. A McDonald's in Newport has reported seven COVID-19 infections, and a Popeyes in Northeast Portland has reported five, according to the Oregon Health Authority. The Popeyes also shut down following the outbreak.
Still, workers at Burgerville's Montavilla location expressed concern about their health and safety in a Facebook post.
"I don't feel safe going in," worker Eimy Chavez said. "Burgerville can disinfect all they want but look, we all work with the people they worked with, it's a chain reaction. We are already exposed enough. I'm worried about my parents who are old. I know everyone that's working is scared."
"Is our health less important than the company's profit?" said another worker named Erika Allard. "I don't feel comfortable going back to work but I have bills to pay."
State officials reported another 332 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, 70 of them in Multnomah County.
This story's headline has been changed to reflect that this Burgerville location is expected to remain closed until July 14.