PORTLAND, OR—Founded in Portland, Oregon in 2010, Little Big Burger is a “fast-casual restaurant” that is now the most recent target of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), better known as the “Wobblies.”
Running concurrently with its ongoing campaign to unionize rival-chain Burgerville, the IWW-led “Little Big Union” made their campaign public on Saturday, according to Willamette Week.
Workers at Little Big Burger announced their formation of a union today at a rally outside the chain’s Northwest 23 Avenue location.
The Little Big Union is demanding $5 per hour raises, fair and consistent scheduling, benefits, paid sick leave and transparent hiring and firing practices, its website says.
“Today the Little Big Union (LBU) delivered a letter to Little Big Burger Restaurant management,” an LBU statement reads. “The message? You have a union now.”
In addition to a $5 per hour increase, the union’s demands include beenfits, “including child care, paid parental leave, quality healthcare, food boxes, bus passes, parking passes, and shift beers,” as well as a “sanctuary workplace,” holiday pay, paid sick leave and vacation time, among other things, according to the union’s website.
On Saturday, the Democratic-Socialists of America (or DSA) tweeted its support of the Little Big Burger Union’s efforts.
— DSA Portland Oregon (@PortlandDSA) March 16, 2019
Within six hours of delivering their “demands” to management, the nascent effort reached their goal of raising $1,000 for their “strike and hardship fund,” according their GoFundMe page.
Despite the union’s demand that Little Big Burger “voluntarily recognize” the union without an election, according to the Portland Mercury, that demand was turned down.
This means that the union will likely file a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and request the NLRB to conduct an election.
If the NLRB agrees that an election should be held, it will likely be within a month.
Still no contract at Burgerville.
“Last April, employees at the Burgerville on Southeast 92nd Avenue at Powell Boulevard voted to form the first union at a fast-food chain in the nation,” reports Willamette Week. “Since then, the union drive has spread to four other Portland-area Burgervilles—including the one near the Convention Center, which employees say serves more customers than any of the company’s 41 other locations in Oregon and Washington.”
So far, however, the unions successful efforts at unionizing Burgerville have failed to produce a contract for Burgerville workers yet.
As a result, the IWW’s Burgerville Workers Union has launched a website “asking the Pacific Northwest to join with us and pledge to boycott Burgerville until the company does right by the workers and signs a contract with the union!”