Lessons from the Burgerville Workers Union w/ Shane Burley (Podcast)
The Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU) is the first officially recognized fast-food workers union in the United States. They are an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World and have embraced militant union organizing strategies to do what traditional labor unions have been unable to accomplish by forming a fast-food workers union.
We spoke with Shane Burley about his recent piece for Think Progress on BVWU and learned more about how these workers were able to succeed in forming their union, how long the fight has been happening, and what challenges lay in front of Burgerville workers.
We also discussed the need to rethink labor organizing under late capitalism, where workers no longer self-identify with particular forms of industry and precarious labor is the norm. BVWU’s successes in some ways points to the need to re-embrace as Shane says, “19th century unionism” in the 21st century.
Shane Burley is a writer and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of Fascism Today: What It Is And How To End It and has had articles printed in Roar Magazine, Think Progress, In These Times, Jacobin, Labor Notes, and more.
Music on this episode from John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees; Damaged Bug)
Follow Shane Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/shane_burley1
Read his article on BVWU for Think Progress at
And purchase a copy of Fascism Today at