We’ve been at the bargaining table for nearly three years. Throughout the process, shop floor actions led by Burgerville workers like walkouts, button-ups, and strikes have led to concrete gains. Since we’ve started bargaining, workers have won many of our demands for tips, free shift meals, holiday pay, and a fairer raise system.
We’ve been in fight mode for a long time. Signing a contract secures the gains we have made while giving us an opportunity to shift towards building direct democratic systems and worker support.
On November 11th, the bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with Burgerville on a full contract. The next step is for all Burgerville workers in the Union to weigh in through a ratification vote, and decide on whether or not to accept the agreement.
What Will Change When a Contract is Signed?
Once a contract is signed, Burgerville will have a legal obligation to follow the contract. If they want to change a policy, workers will have to vote to approve the change. There will be a legally binding enforcement mechanism called the grievance procedure to keep them to it. This combined with shop stewards, union reps who are able to enter the shop, and the organizing you’re already doing means the culture at work can change. If management tries to change something for the worse you can block it, and if they try to discipline you for something you didn’t do, we can stop them. At many shops with a union contract, along with a culture of organizing and taking action, most workers stay for a long time since it’s a stable and predictable job.
The contract going to effect will change some policies, and it will protect some policies from being changed or ignored.
What is Secured in the Tentative Agreement?
- Workers will continue to receive tips in all forms currently in place
- Free shift meals up to $10
- Holiday pay
- A wage scale that starts above minimum wage and includes raises after the first 6 months and then every year.
Burgerville has already implemented these policies following union demands. However, without a contract, they can ignore their own policies. If the tentative agreement goes into effect, the union can hold the company accountable if they forgo anyone’s yearly raise, prevent someone from receiving a shift meal, or fail to implement tips.
What’s New in the Tentative Agreement?
- Discipline from Burgerville will have to meet the standards of just cause, having to prove any alleged policy violation before discipline and applying rules consistently.
- Workers can fight disciplinary action they think is unfair.
- Workers have a right to 30 days notice for layoffs, a right to rehire up to 6 months, and involuntary layoffs occur based on seniority.
- Workers can sign up for consistent schedules, where the days and hours worked are the same week to week, for a 3 month period of time
- Workers can either cash out a yearly bonus or use it as paid vacation time
- Burgerville will have 30 days after the contract goes into effect to set up an option for credit card tips in the drive through at all locations
- Paid parental leave will be available to Burgerville workers.
- Burgerville agrees to not share information with ICE or allow them into the workplace unless they are forced to by law.
- The company will pay new workers for 30 minutes of union orientation time.
What Will the Ratification Process Look Like?
Throughout November, the bargaining team and union representatives will be trying to talk to as many workers as possible about the tentative agreement so everyone can make an informed decision. On voting days, union representatives will come into the store with anonymous paper ballots and secure ballot boxes for workers to vote. If you are not on shift during any of the scheduled voting days, you can come into the store and vote anyways. We are still working on a calendar of voting days, and will update everyone soon.