Members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organized into the Burgerville Workers Union officially launched a strike today as negotiations with Burgerville corporate broke down, following a year of stalling and refusal on the part of bosses to address worker demands. This report first appeared on It's Going Down.
Over the past several years, It’s Going Down has covered the rise of the Burgerville Workers Union, which has grown into a network of several stores which have been officially recognized as union shops, bolstered by a strong base of support within the wider community and labor movement. The union has also called several strikes and pulled off multiple job actions and pickets since they first launched.
Over the years, time and time again Burgerville corporate has targeted union members and organizers for taking part in strike and union activity with unjust firings and the hiring of anti-union thugs to harass IWW members and picketers.
Burgerville is not bargaining in good faith. After stalling for months on negotiating over wages, they cancelled our bargaining session today because workers were prepared to strike if they brought nothing to the table again.
After months since our last bargaining session, we had finally agreed to meet. However, yesterday their lawyers emailed us and said they were canceling the session because we had planned a strike and demanded we postpone bargaining until there is no threat of a strike. They accompanied their email to us with a strange email from CEO Jill Taylor to all workers trying to justify canceling the bargaining session by claiming, “Burgerville is changing the way we do business.” Don’t get it twisted, the company is refusing to negotiate based on our legally protected right to strike at any time.
Around 12 PM on Friday 9th August, the Burgerville Workers Union officially announced that it was on strike, stating that workers from three different stores had walked off the job:
We are ON STRIKE!
This morning, workers from across three different Burgervilles walked off the job, because none of us can afford to wait any longer for a raise. If strike is what it takes to get Burgerville to bargain with us in good faith and bring us a serious proposal on wages, we’re here to prove with our actions that we’re ready.
Earlier this week, Burgerville decided last-minute to push back a scheduled bargaining session, because they heard we might be going on strike that day. That was supposed to be the bargaining session where they brought us a better proposal on wages than the 13 cent raise they offered us nearly six months ago. But workers can’t afford these repeated delays in bargaining. With what we’re currently getting paid, workers often have to choose between making rent, buying groceries, or paying other bills, and sometimes face eviction as a result.
On Wednesday, we took legal action and filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against Burgerville for bargaining in bad faith. Today, we’re taking direct action to back that up. You can take action too, by donating to the BVWU Strike and Hardship Fund to compensate workers for lost wages during today’s strike: https://www.gofundme.com/bvwu-strike-and-hardship-fundraiser
Follow the Burgerville Workers Union on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the strike.