Portland’s Little Big Burger is coming to Capitol Hill soon. iIs workers could bring a fast food labor movement here, too.
In mid-March, Little Big Burger workers in Portland, led by staff at one location, went public with their decision to unionize, a rarity for fast food personnel, following issues of safety, scheduling, and what it says are inadequate pay raises. After talking to workers at other locations of the chain, workers realized that their concerns were widespread across restaurants.
“Conditions, you know, needed to change,” said Cameron Crowell, a union member who has worked at Little Big Burger in Portland for two years.
The union’s demands include $5 raises, two weeks of both paid sick leave and vacation time, fair and consistent scheduling ahead of time, and time and a half for all federal holidays, according to its website.
Little Big Union, as it is called, has yet to be federally recognized, however. For that to happen, the restaurant’s management and ownership would have to voluntarily recognize their existence, or the union would have to conduct an election with the National Labor Relations Board.
Little Big Burger “stands to become the second fast food company in the history of the United States to enter into a collective bargaining relationship with a union,” littlebigunion.org says.
Crowell says it’s unclear how many members the union has exactly due to high turnover in the industry, but he says an overwhelming majority of workers in the Portland-area are signed up. Little Big Union is part of the Industrial Workers of the World, a Chicago-based labor union.
Currently, only workers in Portland have decided to join the union, but the chain has three locations in North Carolina, one in Texas, one in Wallingford, and two more coming to Seattle: 12th and Pike and Green Lake.
“We definitely encourage them to, you know, organize together, meet up outside of work, and you know replicate what we’re doing,” said Crowell, noting that he hasn’t personally heard interest from other cities to unionize. “We know that the problems that we have in Portland are not isolated.”
“We have a model that’s, like, replicable.”
Little Big Burger was gobbled up by Chanticleer Holdings in 2015, a North Carolina-based company that owns Hooters and several other burger restaurants.
“Their eyes have been so much on expansion that they’ve completely neglected, like, the workplaces in Portland that are like the heart of Little Big Burger,” Crowell said.
Recently, managers made some workers come in early for a deep clean at one restaurant, assuring them that all the general managers would be there and helping. Only one of the four general managers showed up, while the others were up in Seattle working on opening a new store, according to Crowell.
Crowell, who serves, cooks, and washes dishes, says that the company has acted pro-employee in public, but behind the scenes is a different story. People have been written up for small infractions and union posters were torn down in one shop’s break area due to an anti-solicitation policy, according to Crowell. The company is now allowing the posters to go up.
In a statement, Little Big Burger said “LBB and its management support and respect our associates’ rights to join a labor union, as well as their right not to join a union.”
“We believe that this is an important decision, and not one that our associates should make lightly. We also believe that it is our responsibility as a pro-employee employer to ensure that all of our team members receive the information that they need to make an informed choice.”
Little Big Burger is set to open at 1200 E Pike soon. You can learn more at littlebigburger.com.
UPDATE 4/22/2019: Little Big Burger is now open on Capitol Hill —
Chanticleer Holdings Announces Opening of Little Big Burger Capitol Hill in Seattle
CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Chanticleer Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:BURG) (“Chanticleer” or the “Company”), owner, operator, and franchisor of multiple nationally recognized restaurant brands, today announced the opening of its newest Seattle Little Big Burger, located in the Capitol Hill area.
The soft opening was held this weekend, while the grand opening and free burger day are expected to be held in the near-term, both of which will be announced through social media.
The 2,500 sq. ft. restaurant will be positioned at the base of the Beryl Building on 12th Avenue and East Pike Street. Capitol Hill, Seattle’s most densely populated neighborhood with over 30,000 residents, boasts a bustling restaurant scene and is one of the city’s most prominent nightlife and entertainment districts.
Fred Glick, Chanticleer Holdings President stated, “We’re pleased to announce the opening of our newest Little Big Burger in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle. The Little Big Burger brand born out of Oregon with just eight original locations has now reached 20 plus with a footprint also now in Charlotte, Seattle and Texas. We are excited about this location and anticipate it being one of our top performers.”
About Chanticleer Holdings, Inc.
Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Chanticleer Holdings owns, operates, and franchises fast, casual, and full-service restaurant brands, including American Burger Company, BGR – Burgers Grilled Right, Little Big Burger, Just Fresh, and Hooters. For more information, please visit: www.chanticleerholdings.com.
About Little Big Burger
Little Big Burger (“LBB”) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chanticleer Holdings, Inc. Founded in Portland, OR in 2010, LBB is a counter service, fast-casual restaurant concept offering fresh, high quality cooked-to-order burgers, truffle fries and root beer floats. LBB has developed a cult-like following in the Pacific Northwest by offering a simple menu focused on delicious quality, served in a hip atmosphere. Parties interested in franchise opportunities should send an email to email@example.com or visit www.littlebigburger.com.
Any statements that are not historical facts contained in this release are “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA), which statements may be identified by words such as “expects,” “plans,” “projects,” “will,” “may,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “should,” “intends,” “estimates,” and other words of similar meaning. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, involve known and unknown risks, a reliance on third parties for information, transactions or orders that may be cancelled, and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or developments in our industry, to differ materially from the anticipated results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results include risks and uncertainties related to the fluctuation of global economic conditions, the performance of management and our employees, our ability to obtain financing or required licenses, competition, general economic conditions and other factors that are detailed in our periodic reports and on documents we file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date the statements were made, and the companies do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements. We intend that all forward-looking statements be subject to the safe-harbor provisions of the PSLRA.
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