Northeast Portland Burgerville Workers Strike After COVID-19 Infection

Jul 10, 2020

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The reopening of a Burgerville in Northeast Portland is on pause over working conditions related to the novel coronavirus.

On Friday morning, Burgerville Workers Union announced they had gone on strike due to concerns related to one staff member testing positive for COVID-19. The worker tested positive Tuesday. The store had been closed since.

In its announcement, the union expressed concerns about reopening too soon. The union said the employee was asymptomatic and it’s unclear how long they were infected. The union demanded either a longer closure or more testing for workers.

“Workers are worried not only for their own lives, but for the safety of high-risk family members they live with, as well as customers coming through the drive-thru,” the union wrote. “This situation underlines the hazardous conditions of working during a pandemic, and why workers deserve hazard pay.”

Burgerville told OPB that it followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. The company said it gave two weeks’ paid leave to quarantine for employees who worked with the infected employee on their last shift, July 2.

Spokesperson Hillary Barbour said the company is also offering to pay for testing for employees who worked in the last two weeks.

“Burgerville takes seriously the health and safety of all its employees and customers,” the company said in a written statement. “All employees undergo wellness screening questions and temperature checks before every shift, practice social distancing in the restaurants, and follow state mandates for mask wearing inside the restaurants.”

The union said it has filed a complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

 

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