Foods & Culinary

Voodoo Donuts workers in Portland are fighting for union recognition

Workers at the downtown Voodoo Donut site have given the company an ultimatum to voluntarily recognize their union Donut Workers United (DWU), or it will petition for a National Labor Relations Board election. Union spokesman Mark Medina tells Eater that Voodoo Donut will have until noon Thursday to recognize the union before petitioning the NLRB. Medina says the union is extremely confident of winning a union election. “We are looking for a unanimous agreement with overwhelming support from the unions,” he says.

Voodoo Donut, a Portland donut chain that now has stores in Austin, Denver, and Orlando, has long been an Old Town tourist destination for their “Mle Blazer Blunts” and raspberry jam-filled voodoo doll donuts. Old Voodoo workers formed the union in March 2020, especially given the pandemic when many of the store’s employees felt they were not being adequately protected by the company. The union has campaigned for a heightened security presence after incidents like a man with a hatchet entered the store and numerous incidents followed by female employees after work.

Medina says the union provided food and support to workers fighting and handed KN95 masks to dozens of workers during the catastrophic forest fires last summer. He says the company disposed of the protective equipment because it was supplied by the union.

Samantha Bryce, a Voodoo downtown worker and union leader, told Eater PDX that she had turned in boxes of masks to store workers in various locations around town only to learn later that the masks would be “removed from the premises” were. “She says that she or any other employee has never been given any justification for why. Voodoo Donut representatives have yet to respond to requests for comment.

The union also wants Voodoo to reinstate a number of employees who were on leave at the beginning of the pandemic. Medina tells Eater that while about 30 employees were originally laid off, only about three were reinstated; In the meantime, Voodoo hired around two dozen new employees, what Medina describes as a clear attempt to break the union. “We have a list of people who would still want their jobs today if the company were ready,” he says. “That would show good faith on the part of the company.”

The election would only recognize workers in downtown voodoo and draw them to join the ranks of the newly unionized food service workers, including Burgerville workers. The DWU would be linked in a similar way to the international workers of the world.

Between the pandemic, forest fires, and last summer’s protests against police brutality and racial inequality, as well as the police and federal guard’s radical response to the protests, many media have questioned the stability of downtown industry. Medina says downtown would benefit from paying employees fairly, rather than spending money on “union destruction,” as employees could more easily support the local economy.

“The vote is such that the workers themselves have a legally binding seat at the table to negotiate our essential work in a dysfunctional inner city that is constantly forgetting that its workers who make this neighborhood work,” says Lupe Miller Workers in the city center. in a press release. “Everyone wants to write the obituary for the city center. I want workers who love and care for one another to write the next chapter instead. “

Voodoo Donut did not respond to multiple requests for comment. This is a developing story and will be updated with more information.

• • Voodoo donut [Official]
• • Donut Workers United [Official]
• As restaurants close after the coronavirus pandemic, Portland’s most iconic donut shop is unionized [EPDX]
• A man with a hatchet robbed the voodoo donut in the city center this weekend [EPDX]
• Behind Portland’s fight for unionized fast food restaurants [EPDX]

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