Workers at Little Big Burger have successfully negotiated with the company and the National Labor Relations Board for a mail-in union election at every Oregon store.
Workers at the Oregon-based chain went public with their intent to unionize in March. Since then, tension between employees and management has escalated. A majority of Little Big Burger employees must vote in favor of a union in an NLRB election to make it formal. Should that happen, Little Big Burger would join five Burgerville stores in the Portland area in being among the first fast food restaurants in the country to unionize.
The Little Big Union said in a statement that during negotiations, the company proposed to rent a U-Haul to send to stores to conduct elections.
"I can't imagine that the suggestion for an empty, dark U-Haul baking in the sun all day is truly the best Little Big Burger could do to create conditions conducive for voting," Little Big Burger worker Erik Kross said in a statement.
Adrian Oca, a Little Big Burger representative, says the U-Haul suggestion was one of many that management proposed.
Little Big Union said its legal representative, Noah Warman, suggested a mail-in election on the grounds that it would make it easier for workers "who live in geographically disparate locations."
The NLRB agreed on Friday, June 14, to host a mail-in vote. The election will start July 1, and employees at Little Big Burger's 13 Oregon locations will have until July 23 to mail in ballots.
Oca says the company is disappointed by NLRB's decision. He says Little Big Burger was pushing for in-store elections because "data show that in store elections lead to higher voter turnout and more accurate results."
"Mail-in was not something we wanted because we felt like it allowed for lower voter representation and the opportunity for shenanigans," Oca says. "We just want to be as fair as possible and have as many employees have the opportunity to vote as possible."