Voodoo Doughnut workers unionize in second attempt


Workers at Voodoo Doughnut in downtown Portland voted 16-6 to affiliate with Doughnut Workers United in ballots counted Sept. 27. It’s the first union Voodoo shop.

The vote came after a previous union campaign in 2021 ended in a 9-9 tie, meaning a loss for the union. But after a year, the tide shifted.

Union supporters changed tactics for the 2022 campaign in response to feedback from coworkers. Some workers wanted to minimize picketing and marching on the boss, both of which were part of the prior year effort.

“The consensus was they wanted to run a campaign that was essentially less stressful,” said Voodoo worker and union supporter Samantha Medina. So volunteer worker organizers ran a quieter campaign. The company’s response was also less aggressive. The prior year, management illegally fired nine workers after a walkout, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) later ordered the company to reinstate them. Although union supporters allege two workers were fired in retaliation for union support during the recent campaign, there was overall “less fighting against the union,” Medina said. 

Workers say they want fair and consistent scheduling, wage increases, company-paid medical coverage, safety improvements and an end to at-will employment.

Voodoo Doughnut operates stores in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado and Texas.

Doughnut Workers United launched as an affiliate of the Portland Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), but union supporters later reorganized it as an independent union.

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