KFC, Taco Bell Workers Get Mail-Ballot Vote In Union Election

A National Labor Relations Board official held Friday that workers at a combination Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken should vote on whether to unionize via mail given the rise in COVID-19 cases in their area, directing an election in an industry that has largely evaded organized labor. NLRB regional director Paul J. Murphy wasn't persuaded by arguments from Pak Norwich Management Inc., which operates the restaurant in Norwich, New York, that an in-person election "would allow for maximum employee participation" in the vote on whether about 20 workers at the facility should be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW. The company didn't offer "any specific reason," according to the decision, for why mail voting wouldn't be appropriate for its particular situation, but instead pointed out that the board generally prefers in-person elections. "While the board has, indeed, expressed a general preference for manual balloting, it has never hesitated to ballot by mail when the circumstances warrant it," Murphy said. If the workers at the restaurant vote to organize with the RWDSU, their union would be a rarity in the fast food industry, particularly among the major fast food companies. Currently, some locations of Burgerville, a chain in the Pacific Northwest, have unions certified by the NLRB.

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