Features, Labor News Briefs, Law and Politics, National, Retail

Portland Burger Workers Win First Fast-Food Union

May 2, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

PORTLAND, Ore.—Workers at a Burgerville in southeast Portland became the first fast-food workers to win a federally recognized union Apr. 23, when they voted 18-4 to be represented by the Industrial Workers of the World. “A lot of us are poor, hungry and even homeless,” Burgerville worker Mark Medina told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “We hope this will be the beginning of the end to poverty wages.” The IWW-backed Burgerville Workers Union said it has organized workers at six of the Pacific Northwest chain’s 42 locations, but the southeast Portland restaurant is the first one where it’s won an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. “For a long time people have dismissed fast food as unorganizable, saying that turnover is too high, or the workers are too spread out,” the union wrote on its Facebook page. “Today Burgerville workers proved them wrong.” But it said it would continue boycotting the company until it negotiates a contract. Burgerville produced an Internet ad saying that “while we don’t know exactly where this journey will take us, we know that it will be great because we’ll go there together,” but did not specifically pledge to work on a contract. Read more

May 2, 2018

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