In 2015, workers at the Pacific Northwestern chain Burgerville started building what would become the country’s first federally recognized fast-food union. It took three years from that point to actually become federally recognized, starting with a single store on 92nd and Powell.
Now, a handful of Burgerville stores have officially unionized through National Labor Relations Board elections, and employees of another local burger chain have followed suit. Little Big Burger workers publicly announced plans to unionize in March, calling themselves the Little Big Union. The Little Big Union hopes to follow in the Burgerville Worker’s Union’s footsteps, becoming the country’s next federally recognized fast-food union.
Restaurant unions have been gaining steam across the country, but Portland has become a starting point for the unionization fast food workers. Below, find the step-by-step story behind Portland’s fight for a unionized fast food market, from the first strike to the latest election.