Little Big Union responds while Little Big Burger stalls

[3/29/2019] On March 16, Little Big Union delivered a letter to Little Big Burger (LBB) requesting voluntary recognition of our union.

On March 22, Little Big Burger Portland regional manager Adrian Oca responded on behalf of the company in an email implying that they would not voluntarily recognize us. In this same letter, Oca expressed that LBB shares our desire to see the relationship between the union and the company proceed amicably, and added that he personally “would be happy to discuss times and places that such a meeting could take place.”

We are glad to hear that Little Big Burger, and their holdings company Chanticleer, are committing to remain neutral. But remaining neutral means no union busting, no interrogating workers, and no tearing down of union flyers. All of this behavior is ongoing, and began in the 13 days since we publicly announced our union.

In our correspondence with the company this week, Adrian suggested that a corporate representative and the union meet in person to continue discussion. We are glad that the company is up for bringing their executive team into talks with us! However they are not willing to meet with us in a timely manner, suggesting that we wait weeks while Fred Glick, the president of Chanticleer Holdings, clears his schedule. Day in and day out we continue cooking the food, taking orders, serving guests, washing dishes—running LBB. One individual, no matter their status in the company, should not unilaterally determine a process that concerns the working conditions at LBB. We’ve seen that delay tactics are a core part of union busting firms’ plans for breaking unions. We, however, will not wait.

In the response back to the union, Little Big Burger management said it is “pro-employee.” We hope that this assertion isn’t in the same vein as last week’s statement from Burgerville, who reassured the public that they, too, are “pro-employee,” even though they targeted 13 union employees at the convention center with unlawful disciplinary action.

Most of all, we are disappointed that Chanticleer Holdings did not see this as an opportunity to make Little Big Burger an industry leader and work with a worker-led fast-food union.

We understand Chanticleer’s need for assurance that this is not the work of a select few, and we are ready and willing to discuss options for recognition. We are prepared to demonstrate that we are the overwhelming majority of workers. Still, we are not asking for a boycott of Little Big Burger, but are thankful for our customers and community members who have voiced their support of our right to unionize, a right shared by food service workers everywhere.

Our message to LBB is this: The Little Big Union is, and always has been, your workers. We are committed to making our jobs at Little Big Burger the best that they can be, and we hope that you are too. Please discuss options for recognizing your workers and our collective voice. Work with us.