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Industrial Workers of the World - Portland IDC

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Portland, OR: Burgerville Singles Out One Worker for Retaliation Following Strike

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 02:08:49 +0000

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 16, 2018

(image) The following report from the Burgerville Workers Union states that management has come down against one pro-union worker of color since the end of the historic three day strike. To learn more about the strike, check out our audio report podcast here.

Burgerville chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day yesterday by retaliating against a union leader. Michelle, a worker at the Convention Center Burgerville who participated in our historic three day long strike, was just suspended by management for allegedly taking a chicken patty without permission.

Though retaliation against union members under trumped up “theft” accusations is a pattern at Burgerville, Michelle’s suspension demonstrates a particularly disturbing underside to that pattern. Along with Arsenio and Canaan, Michelle is the third pro-union worker of color to be fired by Convention Center management in as many weeks, a management which remains entirely white despite the diversity of the crew.

In the targeting of union members of color at the Convention Center, to put it bluntly, we see not only union busting but outright racism. These attacks on our jobs and our families by Burgerville corporate are not just against Burgerville workers, but rather against the rights and power of the Portland community as a whole.

The BVWU does not take this lightly. In addition to Arsenio, Canaan, and Michelle, two other pro-union workers at stores that went on strike have been fired or suspended for similar charges within the last few months. Though Burgerville claims to be an ethical, locally minded fast food company, their wages keep workers in poverty, and when those workers try to better their lives, they are threatened with firing.

In Michelle’s suspension, we see Burgerville perpetuating an atmosphere of fear and racism in order to fight the union, and we are currently in talks with our allies around Portland as well as our legal counsel as to how to best proceed. Please stay tuned – moments like these, when people’s jobs are on the line, are when we need our supporters the most.

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Audio Report: Burgerville Workers Union Finish Three Day Strike

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 01:32:40 +0000

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 6, 2018

In this audio report, we talked to someone with the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU), which is a part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a revolutionary anti-capitalist union founded in 1905. The Burgerville campaign went public in 2016, and in the past several years, has launched a series of strikes, job actions, pickets, and various campaigns in the face of an ongoing anti-union crackdown.

In response to this repression, members of BVWU have built relationships with various local groups and unions, who have in turn brought people to walk pickets lines and often serve free hamburgers outside of Burgerville stores during various job actions. To learn more about this back story, check out our previous podcast interviews with BVWU members here and here.

In this interview, we specifically talk about the recent three day strike launched by BVWU, which grew to include four stores in total who were involved in the strike. Over the course of three days, IWW members picketed stores, encouraged customers not to pay patronage to the business across the city, held rallies which were joined in solidarity with other unions, and also announced the “Boycott Burgerville” campaign.

While certainly not the first or only large scale fast-food worker strike, the Burgerville campaign is historic, and represents the growing capacity of rank-n-file workers to self-organize and take action where they are to fight back against their bosses and conditions in a rapidly gentrifying city.

More Info: Burgerville Workers Union, Donate, and Boycott Burgerville

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Burgerville Strike Spreads to Four Stores as Three Day Strike Ends

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 01:28:14 +0000

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 4, 2018

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On Saturday, February 3rd, members of the Burgerville Workers Union, (BVWU), a part of the revolutionary anti-capitalist labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), announced that a third and fourth store had officially joined the strike. Meanwhile, Burgerville Workers Union members also announced a public boycott of the store as pickets continued over the weekend. On Sunday, the union announced that it was ending its three day strike and that on Monday, workers would be returning to work, however the struggle would continue.


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Burgerville Strike Spreads Into Second Store, Pickets Continue

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 01:19:32 +0000

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 4, 2018

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Yesterday, fast food workers and members of the Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU), a part of the revolutionary anti-capitalist union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), launched a strike at the Burgerville USA chain in Portland, Oregon. Today, they announced that the strike had spread to yet another store. Below are updates from the Burgerville Workers Union social media accounts. 

On February 2nd the union announced:

ANOTHER STRIKE! Today at 11:15 a.m. union workers at the 25th and Powell store delegated management and walked off the job on strike. Union members and supporters are out picketing the store now and have been providing pizza to Cleveland High School students and staff who’ve joined them on the picket lines! This is the second store to walk out in as many days, and wiith Convention Center workers on day two of their strike, this is now the largest strike in BVWU history! Convention Center workers: we got your back! Special thanks for the purple solidarity we received from SEIU 49! 

The Burgerville Workers Union has been hard at work for months now to empower workers and organize a strike. Yesterday, we got to see all those hours of hard work and planning come to fruition after the walkout and strike performed at the Convention Center location. Now is the time for Burgerville Corporate to hear what we’ve been trying to communicate for years. As workers, we deserve better.

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Fast Food Workers in Portland Launch Strike at Burgerville

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 01:12:46 +0000

By Burgerville Workers Union - It's Going Down, February 1, 2018

(image) In Portland, Oregon, fast food workers with Burgerville USA have walked off the job and launched a strike. In recent months, more Burgerville workers in a variety of stores have joined the union, the revolutionary anti-capitalist Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). What follows is a direct report and announcement on the strike from the Burgerville Workers Union. Follow their social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute updates, and be sure to check our past coverage of their struggle as well as their appearances on our podcast.

Workers at the Convention Center Burgerville just walked off the job, launching a strike and kickstarting the biggest weekend of action yet from the Burgerville Workers Union.

April will mark the BVWU’s second anniversary of going public. Since 2016, our demands have largely remained the same: fair wages, consistent scheduling, and affordable health care. We as a union have grown since then. We have found new ways to support each other, and we have won victories in the workplace that make the weight of our day to day lives easier to bear.

Despite all of this, however, Burgerville still refuses to negotiate with the union. The company continues to ignore the voices of its workers, prioritizing profits over the human needs of the workers who make those profits possible.

We are on strike today because no one deserves to live in poverty. Life in Portland only gets harder – rents go up, groceries get more expensive, and Burgerville wages stay unlivable.

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Portland, OR: Burgerville Workers Union Pickets and Expands Into More Stores

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 04:10:04 +0000

By BVWU - It's Going Down, January 25, 2018


On Wednesday, January 24th, the Burgerville Workers Union (BWU) held its first picket of 2018 outside of a Burgerville store in Portland. BWU is a part of the revolutionary anti-capitalist union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and in the past year has grown to include workers in a variety of stores across the chain. Burgerville, which brands itself as a “local” and “woke” large fast food corporation, has refused to negotiate with BWU, and has even hired anti-union goons in an attempt to stop the IWW, as well as firing various organizers over trivial incidents.


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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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