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Burgerville Negotiates a Union Contract with Employees

The Washington-based fast-food restaurant chain is one of the first in the nation to agree on a contract for all hourly union workers.

The 40-unit burger chain Burgerville is one of the first quick-service restaurants to negotiate a union contract for wage increases for hourly employees. 

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the deal, which has been in the works since 2018, will include wage increases until pay reaches $15 an hour and includes tipping in all restaurants, expanded sick leave, parental leave and vacation time.

The current reported minimum wage at Burgerville is $14.25 per hour, and will go up to $14.75 per hour by January 1, 2022, with plans to increase pay to $15 per hour soon after that January increase. 

As more employees begin to unionize at chain restaurants around the country, Burgerville told Nation’s Restaurant News that these negotiations have been a learning experience for both employees and ownership.

“We found common ground in a number of places, which makes for a better relationship between employer and union,” Hillary Barbour, director of strategic initiative at Burgerville told Nation’s Restaurant News. “It was new territory for the union and new territory for us. We built a platform where we could collaborate, trust and test out new policies like tipping in union locations first to work out the kinks before rolling it out to the rest of the company. There were some things we agreed on, while other things we had to negotiate.” 

In addition to the negotiations agreed upon by union workers, Burgerville will add an extended scheduling period to help create scheduling certainty should conflicts arise for employees.

“It’s a new chapter going forward,” Barbour said. “But we’re excited and proud that we can be a leader. It'll be interesting to see whether this [union contract] has an influence on the industry.”

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