Despite the political successes of the “Fight For $15” movement, actual unionized fast food restaurants are rare. Burgerville workers in Portland, Oregon recently reached an agreement on a union contract after a years-long effort, and Starbucks workers in Buffalo and elsewhere have scheduled union elections at a number of stores. Now, 25 employees of a Tudor’s in tiny Elkview, West Virginia are joining them in the vanguard of fast food organizing by seeking to unionize with UFCW Local 400. Yesterday, they filed for a union election with the NLRB.
Search Results for: Fast food
Portland, OR — The Burgerville Workers Union – Industrial Workers of the World (BVWU) has reached a tentative agreement with Burgerville on a historic contract to be ratified by a vote of workers in represented shops. Upon ratification, workers at Burgerville will become the only fast food workforce in the U.S. covered by a Collective Agreement. A milestone in one of the longest standing labor disputes in the Portland, OR area, this Agreement will set out a range of improvements in wages and working conditions for approximately 100 workers across five Burgerville locations. Burgerville and the BVWU have been in contract negotiations since June of 2018. “A union and a contract give workers more power at work” said Mark Medina, a member of the BVWU bargaining team.
Fast food workers in 15 cities across the country went on a one-day strike on February 16, to demand that their employers—including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s—pay them $15 an hour and give them union rights. The effort, which is part of the nationwide Fight for 15 movement, comes as lawmakers in Washington debate enacting a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage as part of President Biden’s first COVID-19 relief package. The strikes also honor Black History Month by emphasizing the generations of low pay and lacking workplace protections among Black workers, historical inequities that have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and which have left Black Americans particularly vulnerable to both the virus and its economic devastation.
NYC fast food workers would get increased protections under two bills that passed in the City Council on Thursday. The two bills would increase protections for workers at large fast food companies, expanding upon worker protection laws passed in 2017. One measure would prohibit fast food employers from firing workers without "just cause," meaning showing the employee failed to meet job duties or has harmed the employer's business interests. Another would require that any layoffs occur by seniority, protecting workers who have been with a given company longer. Arbitration guidelines are laid out in the bills as well.
The fast food industry has long insulated itself from organized labor by building a legal wall between the parent company and the individual franchised stores. That imaginary separation is being tested by the reality of the coronavirus pandemic, as McDonald’s workers across the country have held strikes and walked out, unwilling to risk their lives for fries with no safety net. The Fight For $15 has found fertile new ground in helping to organize fast food strikes in recent days. McDonald’s workers in Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa, Raleigh-Durham and elsewhere have staged job actions this week, in a coordinated push for safer working conditions, paid sick leave and hazard pay. Maria Ruiz, who has spent 16 years at McDonald’s, was one of the workers who went on strike yesterday outside of her store in San Jose, California.