Heading to Court: Little Big Burger Files for Election under Dubious Conditions

[6/3/2019] Portland, Oregon – This week, Little Big Union (LBU) is heading to court to respond to a formal petition for a union election launched not by LBU, but rather by Chanticleer Holdings, parent company to Little Big Burger (LBB). According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), only five other companies have triggered elections themselves so far this year.

“These are very rare for a reason,” LBB worker Kenji Nakatomi says of company-triggered union elections, “and reveal the anti-union mission of the company.” Out of the fifty election petitions filed by companies in 2018, only four resulted in union victories. Little Big Union suspects that these odds have not gone unnoticed by the company when they decided to file their election petition.

This petition comes shortly after five firings of pro-union workers, which LBU argues were retaliatory. Legal charges in this matter remain outstanding. Furthermore, just before the company filed their petition, an anti-union website appeared that spread a mixture of misinformation and outright lies about both LBU and the Burgerville Workers Union. The website went as far as directly naming two workers from these unions, using their full names without permission. Links were disseminated to LBB workers via an anonymous text message by an unknown number. Little Big Union is unaware of who other than the company would have access to workers’ names and personal phone numbers.

Chanticleer has submitted terms for the election that would impede full and fair participation by workers in the election. Chanticleer proposes that voting occur for a 2 hour window during the dinner rush, when workers are at their busiest, as well as during finals week for Portland State University, which many Little Big Burger workers attend. Furthermore, despite LBU being comprised predominantly of workers in the Portland area, Chanticleer is demanding the vote to be for every store in Oregon.

“These are hardly the terms of a good-faith election,” says LBB worker Geran Wales, “I would hope that when a NLRB election does occur, that it does so under conditions that would allow for and encourage mass participation.”

Little Big Union intends to contest the terms of the elections proposed by the company. LBU plans to counter-propose with dates and times that would allow for the largest amount of worker participation.