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Preview: Industrial Workers of the World - Portland IDC

Industrial Workers of the World - Portland IDC



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Portland, OR: Fast Food Workers at Burgerville Launch Strike on Labor Day

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 01:54:04 +0000

By Staff - It's Going Down, September 4, 2017

(image) Members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) launched a strike in Portland, Oregon at fast food chain Burgerville. The strike is the latest move by workers at the chain who have been organizing for months and demanding wage increases, an end to harassment for union activities, better schedules, and improvements of conditions. The group announced the strike on Labor Day with a statement on their Facebook page:

The very first Labor Day was a massive strike and parade organized by thousands of workers in New York City in 1882. The chance for millions and millions of people to spend time with family and community this Monday was made possible by power wielded time and time again by striking workers.

Ironically, we workers at Burgerville don’t get to enjoy this day dedicated to celebrating the power of workers. Working at Burgerville means we can’t take proper holidays, since doing so means taking a substantial pay cut or facing retaliation from management. Working at Burgerville means that we spend our holidays working for minimum wage just like any other day, fully aware of all the memories with friends and family we are missing out on.

That’s why we are going on strike today.

Instead of going to work for poverty wages while corporate bigshots take vacations, we are taking a stand. We are taking back Labor Day for our families, our friends, our coworkers, and ourselves. We are taking back Labor Day because we know that better pay, fair schedules, consistent hours, and healthier work environments have only ever been won by workers standing together and fighting for them.

We are the heart of Burgerville and we deserve a change!

The strike also takes place as fast food workers at McDonald’s in the UK are also on strike. Burgerville workers union writes:

McDonald’s workers at two shops in England voted to go on a strike on September 4. These workers are organized through the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), whose demands include wage increases and more consistent scheduling (Sound familiar?)

Immediately after the announcement of a strike, McDonald’s stated that by the end of 2017 they will implement a guaranteed hours contract to every McDonald’s worker in the UK. The BFAWU plans to carry on with their strike to push for their other demands and to hold McDonald’s to their word.

Victory to the strikers!

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Official Endorsement of Voz: Workers’ Rights Education Project by the PDX IWW

Sat, 26 Aug 2017 00:03:57 +0000

Portland IWW - August 15, 2017

(image) The Portland IWW is proud to endorse Voz: Workers’ Rights Education Project. Founded in 2000, Voz has been connecting day laborers to work, supporting worker-led organizing, and offering trainings.

Voz is a worker-led organization that gives power to immigrant workers that may not otherwise have the means to organize and bargain for humane working conditions and fair wages. Having the ability to organize and fight for these universal goals gives immigrants the ability to work, to better empower and enrich their communities and lives.

The Voz: Workers Rights Education Project is currently campaigning for their Building The Dream campaign, petitioning the city of Portland for the rights to purchase the property at 240 NE Martin Luther King JR Blvd., to provide immigrant workers and day laborers with a place to meet potential employers, discuss the conditions of their labor, while having the choice to sell their labor to whomever they believe will give them the respect that they deserve.

As such, Voz requires support from community organizations to help them fight for these rights, and to show the city of Portland that the community stands with them and will help defend the exploited and under-privileged workers that move our city and society forward. The Portland Industrial Workers of the World has long worked alongside the VOZ: Workers Rights Education Project and firmly believes that day laborers – like all workers – should have secure sites from which to organize and direct their own labor.

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Burgerville Workers Union Marches Forward; Community Support and Solidarity Continue Growing

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 00:47:08 +0000

Pete Shaw - Portland Occupier, July 19, 2017 The shakes–blackberry, chocolate hazelnut, and pumpkin spice–come and go. So do the Walla Walla onion rings, waffle fries, and asparagus. But since April of last year, solidarity has always been in season at Burgerville. Since its formation 15 months ago, the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU)–which is supported by the Portland Industrial Workers of the World–has been organizing for better working conditions on the job, greater benefits, and higher wages. Fighting against a management that promotes the Burgerville corporation as one which supports family values, local farmers, and sustainable practices, but treats its workers no differently than people have come to expect from larger fast food chains such as McDonald’s, the Burgerville Workers Union has slowly but surely been gathering steam in its struggle. However, Burgerville management has so far refused to talk with the union. On Friday July 14, the BVWU took another small but significant step toward pushing Burgerville’s management to start negotiating with it. A crowd of over 100 people picketed outside the Burgerville on Southeast 92nd and Powell during the early evening, virtually shutting down business at the store. On a hot night when one of the raspberry shakes would have made a delightful treat, only a few customers crossed the picket line. At a rally just prior to establishing the line, Mark Medina of the BVWU told the gathered crowd, “We’re gonna shut down the shop for a couple of hours and make corporate know that workers care about benefits, about wages, and that they want Burgerville to negotiate with the union and respect the rights of workers here in Portland, Oregon. This is a union town. They should respect our rights to organize.” That lack of respect was given official imprimatur when on June 22 Burgerville agreed to pay $10,000 to settle charges brought against it by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) that between August 1 and August 15, 2015 the company willfully “failed to provide a meal period of not less than 30 continuous minutes during which the employee is relieved of all duties and/or failed to provide timely meal periods to twenty-eight employees” as required by law. Another 16 employees were also denied their 30-minute work-free meal period during a two-week period in December, 2016. In addition to those charges, BOLI found that Burgerville was “employing minors under 18 in hazardous and permitted occupation” when two 17 year old employees operated a trash compactor which Oregon law has declared “hazardous and detrimental to to the health of employees under the age of 18.” All charges pertained to the Burgerville store on NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, near the Oregon Convention Center. Brandon Doyle, BVWU Shop Leader at the SE 92nd and Powell Burgerville, is one of many Burgerville workers who has seen the company’s scarce regard for workers up close and personal. A few months ago Doyle was feeling ill to the point of vomiting while on the job. Instead of allowing him to go home and rest–as well as not risk getting Burgerville customers sick–Doyle’s manager insisted he remain at work. Fortunately, Doyle and his fellow workers contacted fellow union members from other stores, who then contacted Doyle’s manager, eventually resulting in Doyle being allowed to leave and likely helping prevent the spread of what ailed him. They had his back, and Doyle now wants to return the favor. read more[...]



Burgerville pays $10,000 to settle wage and hour violations

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 01:28:45 +0000

By staff - NW Labor Press, July 6, 2017

The Burgerville fast food chain — target of a 14-month union campaign to improve wages and working conditions — on June 22 agreed to pay $10,000 to settle charges that it willfully failed to give workers meal and rest breaks as required by law.

(image) Oregon law requires employers to provide paid rest periods of at least 10 minutes for each four-hour work period, and a duty-free meal period of at least 30 minutes when employees work six or more hours at a time.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) first wrote to Burgerville on April 7, 2016, saying it received information that the company may not have been providing rest breaks and meal periods at its Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard restaurant in Portland. The letter asked the company to review its practices and take immediate steps to correct the situation. Burgerville’s chief operating officer wrote back April 18 to say the company had retrained the entire management team and would meet with all 40 employees to make sure they know about the requirement that they take breaks.

But the practice continued: Two other employees complained in August, and BOLI sent another letter, and opened an investigation. The investigation found that over two-week periods in August and December 2016, managers “willfully” failed to provide meal periods to 28 and 16 employees respectively. Willful, in this case, is a legal term meaning the company knew about the requirement for meal breaks, and also knew that workers weren’t getting them. The agency found 44 violations total, and assessed $250 per violation, for $11,000 in all. BOLI also found three cases in which minors were performing a hazardous duty — operating a trash compactor — and assessed $250 per violation for those.

On June 2, 2017, the agency issued a notice that it intended to assess civil penalties of $11,750. The Vancouver-based fast food chain agreed to pay $10,000 to settle all the charges.

Burgerville Workers Union, affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World, has been campaigning since April 2016 for a $5 an hour raise, affordable health care, and other demands. The Oregon AFL-CIO and half a dozen other labor organizations have endorsed their campaign.

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Portland May Day 2017 — Official Response

Fri, 26 May 2017 00:05:26 +0000

By the Portland IWW - Portland IWW, May 4, 2017

(image) This was originally sent to KOIN 6 as a response to the events that took place on May Day in Portland.

The Industrial Workers of the World is proud that we were able to celebrate International Workers Day and march in solidarity with so many organizations which are essential and vibrant to the community of Portland and at large. International Workers Day is an important holiday that showcases the struggle of all workers against the wholesale societal systemic oppression brought about by corporations, CEOs, and the mega-rich capitalist class. The fact that there was such a strong contingent of marchers from all walks of life is representative of the American working class.

The Portland Police Bureau’s use of violence against workers and their families – as well as the children who were in the crowd celebrating the holiday with their parents – is a travesty and a violation of both human rights, as well as the right to peaceful assembly. We condemn their efforts in restricting accessibility to fellow workers with disabilities, and their blatant disregard for the health and well-being of the people they have sworn to protect. By direct contrast, they assisted visible white supremacists and white nationalists at the “March for Free Speech 82nd Ave,” specifically a non-permitted march by pro-Trump supporters on April 29th by chartering Tri-Met buses and public transportation to get these people, some of whom were making Nazi salutes during their protest, back to their vehicles.

Our goal is and has always been to support and assist the workers of the world, and we will continue to fight for the needs of all in the face of police and capitalist oppression, and stand by our watchword that an injury to one is an injury to all. As such, the Portland Police Bureau inflicted shameful injury against the workers, their families, and their children during the May Day march; we will stand against that in solidarity with our fellow workers.

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Beyond the Fight for 15: The Worker-led Fast Food Union Campaign Building Power on the Shop Floor

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 01:35:35 +0000

By Arun Gupta - In These Times, October 25, 2016 Last year, at age 17, Eli Fishel moved out of her parents’ house in Vancouver, Washington, squeezing into a three-bedroom apartment with five other roommates. To pay her bills as she finished high school, Fishel landed a job at Burgerville, a fast-food chain with 42 outlets and more than 1,500 employees in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1961, Burgerville has cultivated a loyal following by emphasizing fresh, local food, combined with sustainable business practices like renewable energy and recycling. But Fishel quickly realized she wasn’t part of Burgerville’s commitment to “regional vitality” and “future generations.” After 16 months on the job, she earns just $9.85 an hour, barely above the Washington State minimum wage. Her hours and shifts fluctuate weekly, with only a few days’ notice, and every month she goes hungry because she runs out of money to buy food. Speaking of the privately-owned Burgerville, Fishel says, “We’re poor because they’re rich, and they’re rich because we’re poor.” Disgruntled Burgerville workers began covertly organizing in 2015. The Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU) went public on April 26 with a march of more than 100 people through Portland, Oregon, and the delivery of a letter to the corporate headquarters in Vancouver. BVWU demands include a $5-an-hour raise for all hourly workers, recognition of a workers organization, affordable, quality healthcare, a safe and healthy workplace, and fair and consistent scheduling with ample notice. Some BVWU members call their effort “Fight for $15, 2.0,” playing off the name of the fast-food worker campaign launched in 2011 by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). SEIU has won plaudits for making the plight of low-wage workers a national issue and igniting the movement for new laws boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour. But the campaign has not, thus far, included efforts to unionize individual workplaces. Unlike Fight for $15, which Middlebury College sociology professor and labor expert Jamie McCallum describes as “a fairly top-down campaign,” BVWU is a worker-initiated and -led project backed by numerous labor organizations. The group of Burgerville workers who came up with the idea includes members of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a militant union with West Coast roots that date back to the early 1900s. The campaign has the backing of the Portland chapter of IWW and the support SEIU Local 49, the Portland Association of Teachers, and Jobs with Justice. This scrappy approach enabled BVWU to leapfrog Fight for $15 by declaring a union from the start. While BVWU has not yet formally petitioned for recognition and Burgerville has not chosen to voluntarily negotiate with it, the union has established worker committees in five stores, is developing units in a similar number of shops and counts scores of workers as members. BVWU is full of lessons in how organizing works. One member likens the campaign to “low-level guerrilla warfare” with workers maneuvering to increase their ranks, build power on the shop floor, expand the terrain from shop to shop, while skirmishing with managers over the work process, and suffering casualties as some members have quit or say they were pushed out of their jobs at Burgerville. In the workplace, the strategy is to develop leaders, form committees for each store, and nurture trust and respect between workers. Outside, BVWU uses direct action to empower workers and bring suppliers into the conversation. The union also works to build community support by mobilizing social-justice groups, clergy, and organized labor to win over the public and pressure the company. McCallum says that BVWU an example of social movement unionism. “It’s about organizing as a class against another class,&rdqu[...]



Burgerville Workers Unite!

Wed, 11 May 2016 22:39:58 +0000

(image) By Admin - Portland IWW, May 1, 2016

Portland, OR – In a historic move, workers at Portland-area fast food chain Burgerville announced at a rally in the Clinton Street Theater on April 26th that they were forming a union, the Burgerville Workers Union, in affiliation with the Portland branch of the IWW. They marched from the theater to the Burgerville location at Southeast 26th and Clinton to present their demands:

  • an immediate $5 an hour raise
  • affordable, quality healthcare
  • a safe and healthy workplace
  • fair and consistent scheduling with ample notice
  • a supportive, sustainable workplace including paid maternity/paternity leave
  • free childcare and transportation stipends

A typical Burgerville worker makes only $9.60 an hour, and is typically scheduled just 26 hours a week, just under the 30 hours a week which would make them eligible to receive benefits. That equals out to about $990 a month before taxes. To put that into perspective, the average apartment rent in Portland is $1,275 a month for a one bedroom apartment, and most apartment complexes require prospective tenants income to exceed 3 times the amount of the rent.

“Most people can’t even afford to have an apartment. In Portland, everyone knows that the cost of living is insane. It basically took me a second job to be able to have a place of my own. I couldn’t afford it with what Burgerville pays me,” said Greg, Burgerville worker and union member.

Other workers cited problems with management’s uncaring attitude toward their employees: “I need to be able to take a sick day without fear of retaliation,” stated Robert, a Burgerville worker at the Powell location.

The workers forming the Burgerville Workers Union represent a cross-section of the community – young people, seniors, mothers, fathers, students, and grandparents. They put passion into their work, and want to improve their workplaces for themselves, their co-workers, and the community.

“We’re trying to make Burgerville a better place – I just want to be able to do my job and be paid a living wage. This is going to make Burgerville better, by having happy employees that work hard and are proud of their jobs” said Debbie, Burgerville Worker Union member.

The Burgerville Workers Union is supported by the Portland IWW and endorsed by a coalition of local unions and community groups, including ILWU Local 5, IATSE Local 28, SEIU Local 49, Portland Association of Teachers, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Portland Solidarity Network (PDXSol), Portland Jobs with Justice, Blue Heron Collective (Reed College), Portland Central America Solidarity Committee, Alberta Cooperative Grocery Collective Management, Hella 503 Collective, Marilyn Buck Abolitionist Collective and People’s Food Co-op.

To lend your support and solidarity, check out the Burgerville Workers Union website.

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Burgerville Workers Union has gone public!

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 23:05:58 +0000

By DJ Acid Rick - Portland IWW, April 26, 2016

width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/z5x9iIdNoNc">

Learn more about the Burgerville Workers Union, and how you can get involved.

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Sign up for our Introduction to the IWW class!

Sun, 13 Sep 2015 18:24:39 +0000

(image) Thursday, October 1, from 7:00-8:30pm

All workers welcome! Learn more about the key principles and values of the Industrial Workers of the World and learn what the Portland I.W.W. is doing to improve working conditions – and how you can get involved.

We will explore solidarity unionism, the use of direct action, how the I.W.W. differs from business & trade unions, and more.

Click here to sign up!

For those of you who utilize Facebook: The Intro Class event page

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Demand Paid Sick Days!

Fri, 05 Oct 2012 00:39:33 +0000

(image) * PAID SICK DAYS NOW! * RALLY AT HOLLADAY PARK * SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 4PM *NE MULTNOMAH & 13TH AVE *

Email: paidsickdaysnow [at] gmail.com

Phone: 971-266-1891

Saturday, October 6, 2012 4pm, at Holladay Park, the Portland Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World and the IWW’s Food & Retail Workers United will hold a rally as part of a campaign to win paid sick days for all workers in Portland, Oregon. This event is sponsored by Laborers 483, American Friends Service Committee, We Are Oregon, Portland Jobs with Justice, Portland Central American Solidarity Committee, Portland Restaurant Workers Association, and the International Socialist Organization.

Featured at the rally will be speakers and musical acts, including Mic Crenshaw, The Crossettes, and I Wobble Wobble, as well as worker testimonies and opportunities to learn more about the campaign and get involved.

The rally officially kicks off our campaign, which is founded on the following mission:

We, the workers of Portland, acting in solidarity across industries, seek to improve the health and well-being of our fellow workers, families and communities. Therefore we demand that all employers within Portland provide all employees -- whether full-time, part-time or temporary -- with paid sick and safe days commensurate with hours worked.

Our Five Point Demand:

1. All of us -- full time, part time and temporary workers -- deserve paid sick and safe days to care for ourselves and our families as members of the community.

2. We call on all employers to provide paid sick and safe days immediately.

3. We need paid sick and safe days to care for our own:

● illness, which includes physical and mental health issues

● injury

● preventative care

● safety when experiencing domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking

● and bereavement for our family members.

We -- as caregivers, parents, and partners -- need paid sick days to care for our:

● spouses & domestic partners

● biological, foster, or adopted children, stepchildren, and children of domestic partners

● and other family members under our care

4. Employers will implement a standard accrual rate of paid sick and safe days for all

employees. The rate must be compassionate to the need of workers to care for both ourselves and our families.

5. Employers will not interfere, discriminate, or retaliate against our request for or use of paid sick and safe days to care for ourselves and loved ones.

We cannot wait until it’s politically convenient for paid sick & safe days. A grassroots campaign led by the workers, families and communities who are most affected by the lack of paid sick days is a necessity to ensure we acquire a policy which meets our needs.

We call upon all workers and community allies interested in learning more and participating in our campaign to attend the rally on October 6 in Holladay Park!

“An illness to one is contagious to all!”

For more information please visit http://paidsickdaysnow.org

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