PORTLAND, Ore. — It appears the Burgerville Workers Union is about to go on strike after negotiations stalled this week.
The union met with Burgerville corporate representatives twice this week, but wage increases remained a point of contention that the two sides could not come to an agreement on. The groups have been negotiating for 18 months.
Union workers have reportedly been seeking a $5-per-hour raise. That would have brought wages for those workers, which Burgerville said makes up about 12% of its workforce, up to $17 per hour at the five unionized restaurants.
Earlier this week, Burgerville announced it would take out a $3 million loan to increase worker wages, including those not in the union, at all 41 locations. The $1-per-hour raise would increase the base pay of hourly crew workers to $13.50 per hour, the company said.
"Burgerville also made it clear to the union that wage increases must be for all employees, not just unionized employees," a spokesperson for the company said.
The union said the latest wage proposal “maintains a status quo that keeps workers in poverty.” They noted $13.50 an hour would only be 25 cents more than the Portland area's minimum wage come July 2020.
“As soon as Corporate is ready to have a meaningful conversation about wages, we’ll return to the bargaining table. Until then -- to the barricades,” the union said in a statement on Saturday.
Workers will walk off the job sometime this upcoming week, the union said. More events are planned throughout the week.
Burgerville, which is based in Vancouver, said it hopes union representatives will come back for further negotiations.
“Our employees are at the heart of Burgerville. We have been working to better meet their needs. The Burgerville Workers Union has helped us see some of those needs. Our intention is to make the Pacific Northwest the healthiest region on the planet. We would love the union’s help to achieve that,” Burgerville CEO Jill Taylor said in a statement.