Negotiations fell apart Friday between Burgerville and its workers’ union. The union said it’s now preparing for its largest strike ever.
Earlier this week, Burgerville announced it was taking out a $3 million loan to give its employees a $1 per hour pay raise starting in December — nowhere near the $5 per hour increase the Burgerville Workers Union is requesting.
“Wages remain an area of disagreement,” Burgerville said in a news release.
The company said the union’s requested pay increase would bring starting wages to $17 per hour for only unionized employees at five stores, who make up about 12% of the workforce.
“Burgerville cares about all of our employees, union and non-union,” Burgerville CEO Jill Taylor said in the release. “We evaluated all proposals seriously, and we were pleased to arrive at a wage increase for all workers.”
After July's state-mandated minimum wage increase, the union said, Burgerville's proposed pay raise will amount to $0.25 over minimum wage for Oregon workers. For Washington workers, the pay raise will be equal to minimum wage.
“Corporate’s proposal amounted to just barely more than offering workers the upcoming minimum wage increase six months in advance,” the Burgerville Workers Union said in a statement Saturday morning. “This is intolerable to the BVWU, who has been fighting for a living wage for over three years.”
The company said during its bargaining with the union, the two groups did come to a tentative agreement on some policies, including paid parental leave and a more flexible sick leave policy.
Sometime this next week, union workers plan to walk off the job and strike.
“The strike date will remain undisclosed to preserve the element of surprise,” Emmett Schlenz with the union said.
The union is also planning picketing events at multiple Burgerville stores.
A Burgerville restaurant in Southeast Portland was the first in the chain to unionize last spring and also became one of the first federally recognized fast food unions in the country.