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News / Business / Clark County Business

Burgerville union announces strike

Workers at five Oregon locations will strike next week

By Will Campbell, Columbian Associate Editor
Published: October 19, 2019, 11:55am

Members of the Burgerville union announced they will strike at an undisclosed time next week after contract negotiations with Burgerville USA broke down on Friday. The union spans five locations in Oregon and none in Vancouver.

Union members also plan to camp overnight on Thursday at Burgerville’s corporate office in Vancouver, at 109 W. 17th St., according to a news release from the Burgerville Workers Union.

Burgerville announced on Wednesday a wage hike for all workers that amounted to a minimum $1-per-hour, bringing the lowest-paid workers’ wages to $13.25 per hour. The company took out a $3 million loan for the wage increases.

But union members argued that the amount would only equal a $0.25-per-hour raise after Oregon’s minimum wage increases to $13.25 in Portland in July.

“The (Burgerville Workers Union) arrived ready to make serious concessions, in order to sign a contract that significantly improves the lives of Burgerville workers. But Burgerville came with a wage proposal that maintains a status quo that keeps workers in poverty,” the union’s news release stated.

Union negotiators originally asked for a $5-per-hour increase for union members only, according to a Friday news release from Burgerville USA. That would have amounted to a 36-percent increase for about 12 percent of the Burgerville workforce.

“Burgerville cares about all of our employees, union and non-union. We evaluated all proposals seriously, and we were pleased to arrive at a wage increase for all workers,” said Burgerville CEO Jill Taylor in the news release.

During the 18 months of negotiations between Burgerville and the union, tentative deals have been reached on anniversary pay, bereavement leave policy, paid parental leave, reimbursement for the cost of obtaining Food Handlers card and sick leave policy, according to the Burgerville news release.

Burgerville union workers held a rally on Saturday at the Portland Waterfront to “start our escalated actions against the company,” according to a Facebook page for the rally.