The workers at Alamo Drafthouse’s flagship Austin location announced the union, citing their concerns about changes to wages and benefits and greater clarity on COVID-19 health policies. .
The group, which calls itself Drafthouse United, announced on Monday that it has “majority support” among workers at the site. (The Hollywood Reporter asked one member, hourly supervisor Duncan Lott, how many members the group had, and he declined to give the number for privacy reasons to his colleagues, but reiterated that the group has a “fair majority” steady”). The group is looking to represent everyone who works at the location level, excluding salaried managers and a number of workers who have gone public with their support including a valet. , a bartender, a runner and a supervisor. The World Union of Industrial Workers (IWW), which organizes workers in industries with the philosophy of “One Great Union” and has nearly 9,000 members with recently approved contracts for workers in Moe’s Books in Berkeley, and the Pacific Northwest food chain Burgerville, are backing the organization.
Lott said the group went public with their organizing effort after submitting several proposed solutions to worker complaints in early February and was told by a manager that individuals could raise their concerns at future plenary meetings. The group is currently asking for voluntary recognition from management. CHEAP Have reached out to Alamo Drafthouse for comment.
In lengthy statements provided by two employees on the Drafthouse United website explaining why they chose to merge, a server and Lott describe how, after COVID-19 initially shut down the South neighborhood Lamar for several months, the theater initially ensured health and safety. steps such as setting up “cushioned” seating and introducing online ordering, until those operations are deemed discontinued. Employees say there is a lot of burnout and significant turnover among workers, and express disappointment that Drafthouse workers are reportedly being paid higher hourly wages than in other states due to different state laws. “I decided to merge because I love Alamo Drafthouse, and it’s a worthy place to work. But it is no longer a place worth working for when it no longer makes disparaging remarks about its staff and guests,” Lott wrote in her statement.
With the union, workers hope to improve wages and benefits including paid sick leave, gain a better understanding of COVID-19 policies and achieve “a solution to longstanding building maintenance requirements.” , according to IWW.
In March 2021, Alamo Drafthouse, known for its moviegoer-friendly programming, theater food and beverage service and strict no-messing at movie screenings, filed for bankruptcy protection. Chapter 11 production in light of the pandemic and its challenges to the business of cinemas; As part of that deal, it underwent a restructuring that split some assets to affiliates of Altamont Capital and Fortress Investment Group. However, just a few months later, CHEAP said the chain was set to open four new locations in Manhattan, Washington, DC, Arlington, Va. and St. Louis, with a site on Staten Island still in development. Earlier this month, the company announced additional locations Chicago, Birmingham, Glendale, Colo. And Grand Prairie, Texas after 2021 has seen box office success for its theaters with movies like Spider-Man: No Way Home, Licorice Pizza, The French Dispatch and Green Knight.
The IWW said in a press release about the union: “Unions play a vital role in maintaining the safety and quality of film production throughout the industry’s supply chain, just to in nearby cinemas. “It is time to expand basic union protections and fair compensation to workers on the front lines of the industry.”