The formation of the first-ever fast-food workers union is here, and the Burgerville Workers Union has arrived with an ambitious agenda.
Workers spent two years organizing with the result of having their new union be formally recognized by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The union was formed at the Burgerville Southeast 92nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard location in Portland, Oregon, by an 18-4 vote in April. The store is part of the privately held Burgerville restaurant chain in Oregon and southwest Washington state. Currently, only two of the chain’s 39 locations have joined the new union, but more are likely to follow.
Following the union’s establishment, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has required Burgerville to negotiate with employees of the Workers Union who are requesting a raise, affordable health coverage, and, the most controversial item to be addressed, schedules set two weeks in advance.
The concept of fair scheduling laws is not new. New York, Oregon, and California have already set in place rules pertaining to predictive scheduling for workers in retail stores and restaurants. Connecticut aims to implement its own practices as well.
As more states and cities continue to push for fair scheduling laws, organizations are going to be faced with more stringent rules to comply with. The predictive scheduling that the Burgerville Workers Union is fighting for may spark expansion to other states, following in the path of the growing trend of more rigorous pay equity legislation being enacted in states and cities across the country.
Will the Burgerville Workers Union act as a catalyst for nationwide fair scheduling legislation? Only time will tell. In the meantime, businesses that rely on variable hour workers and flexible scheduling should review their current practices and discuss what the world might look like if fair work scheduling became a reality in the states in which they operate.