First Fast-Food Union Takes Shape in Oregon

Burgerville Workers Union is first federally recognized fast-food workers union in the U.S.

May 02, 2018

PORTLAND – Employees at Burgerville store #41 in Portland, Ore. voted to become the first officially recognized fast-food workers union in the country. The Burgerville Workers Union voted 18-4 in favor and is now the only fast-food restaurant part of the Industrial Workers of the World.

“What happened here is historic...Burgerville workers are at the forefront of their own movement, proving to everyone that we can change our lives and our world for the better,” wrote Mark Medina, a member of the freshly recognized union.

After two years of campaigning, the union is now set to start negotiations with management. The group hopes to raise hourly employee wages $5 an hour, make scheduling more consistent and improve child care and affordable healthcare options.

"We started the BVWU to try to make things better for ourselves and our coworkers," Medina says. "The union is about workers standing up for each other and building a better world."

A second Burgerville store in Gladstone, Ore. has filed a separate union election request with the National Labor Relations Board.