Workforce

2nd QSR unit votes to unionize

The staff of another Burgerville quick-service restaurant voted over the weekend to unionize, proving the organization of a sister store on April 23 was no fluke.

Employees of Store #8 opted during a two-day secret election monitored by the National Labor Relations Board to be represented by the Industrial Workers of the World, the same group that is set to negotiate a labor contract for Store #41.

The IWW formed an affiliate called the Burgerville Workers Union to represent the chain’s employees.  The group says it is the first federally recognized union to represent quick-service workers.

BWU has said that conversations about organization are underway with the staffs of at least four other Burgerville units.

Negotiations of a new employment contract for the staff of Store #41 are scheduled to begin on May 22. The union is seeking a $5 an hour raise for all employees, free childcare and affordable health insurance. Burgerville already offers healthcare coverage starting at $35 per month, and says its wages average 20% more than the industry average.

Burgerville “is navigating this new working relationship in a positive, productive way and has agreed to bargain in good faith, and will do the same regarding Burgerville Store # 8,” the 42-unit chain said in announcing results of the weekend vote.

“We support their decision,” Beth Brewer, SVP of operations for Burgerville, said of the balloting. ““While working with a union is new to Burgerville, we have a long history of going first. It works out well for both our business and the communities we serve.”

Burgerville’s restaurants are located in Washington and Oregon. The situation there is being closely watched by the restaurant industry to determine if the recent IWW votes are the start of a trend.

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