PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – After more than a year of trying, Voodoo Doughnut employees at the Portland-based chain’s original Old Town location voted to unionize on Sept. 27, following their demands for “living wages,” affordable health care and safer working conditions.

Store employees approved the formation of the union Doughnut Workers United by a vote of 16-6. The now-federally recognized union is specific to the Old Town Voodoo location and includes the store’s full-time and part-time “doughnuteers” and shift supervisors.

“Statistically, union jobs pay higher, are safer, have higher retention rates for employees, and provide higher quality benefits,” Doughnut Workers United stated on its webpage. “This is because the whole purpose of a union is to ensure workers receive respectful and fair treatment. We have to join together to achieve these goals! Because the company is certainly not going to do it for us!”

National Labor Relations Board Press Secretary Kayla Blado told KOIN 6 that, following the vote, the union will now go through a five-day waiting period where objections can be filed.

“If no objections are filed, the union will be certified and the employer must begin bargaining in good faith with the union,” Blado said.

The union agreement is the latest in a history of conflicts between Voodoo Doughnut and its employees. In October of 2021, the National Labor Relations Board ruled the workers at the Portland Old Town location were to be reinstated after they were unjustly fired for striking in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave in June of 2021. Following the firings, employees attempted to unionize for the first time, which resulted in an unsuccessful tie, Eater Portland reported.

While employees said that the donut chain has made some efforts to improve working conditions, Doughnut Workers United organizer Samantha Medina said that the changes were too little, too late.

“The company has had a year since last year’s [union] election to prove to staff that working conditions, safety, and compensation would be improved,” Medina said last month. “Myself and my coworkers agree: What Voodoo Doughnut has accomplished is far too little and far too late. Workers need increased safety measures, fair and consistent scheduling, and a living wage just to name a few things. If the company will not provide these concessions voluntarily, then we are prepared to collectively negotiate with the company to provide workers with adequate compensation and safety.”

Voodoo Doughnut was founded by Portlanders Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon at the Old Town location in 2003. The Portland Business Journal reported that the San Francisco-based equity firm Fundamental Capital bought a large stake in the company in 2017. However, Kenneth and Pogson told PBJ that they retained “significant ownership and influence in the company.”

Doughnut Workers United and Voodoo Doughnut itself did not immediately respond to KOIN 6’s request for comment.