Workers vote to unionize in NLRB election – The Hollywood Reporter

Workers at the iconic New York Film Forum theater voted unanimously to unionize with a United Auto Workers Local.

In a National Labor Relations Ballot Count which took place on Friday morning, 27 workers supported organizing with New York-based UAW Local 2110. The group of workers involved in the vote included full-time and part-time employees who work in theatre, programming, publicity, facilities and administration. The eligibility of three employees for the union election has been questioned, and their ballots will be considered at another time.

In a statement, Film Forum chief executive Chad Bolton said management had said it would voluntarily recognize the union ahead of the election. (No voluntary recognition agreement between the parties has been signed.) “We look forward to sitting down with our employees to discuss our first contract with UAW Local 2110,” Bolton added.

According to the union, employees hope that unionization will improve compensation, change organizational development practices and standardize working conditions for workers in all departments. The union adds that workers’ experience throughout the pandemic with furloughs and health and safety issues helped spur their attempt to unionize.

“Working in the ever-changing conditions of a pandemic is no easy task. In many industries, workers in hourly or part-time positions, such as theater staff, have suffered disproportionate job loss,” Film Forum theater director Claudia Francois said in a statement. “And when the doors reopened, the theater staff enthusiastically welcomed the audience to the cinema, despite the fluctuations and variations of COVID. Union representation ensures safety, security and fairness in the workplace during these uncertain times.

Stephanie Gross, Premieres Programming Associate, added: “From the beginning, it’s been clear that Film Forum is a special place because of its workers. She said: “There is passion and commitment at every level. That’s why we unionized, and I look forward to seeing Film Forum become a more equitable and sustainable workplace for everyone.

While few movie theaters are significantly unionized, recent efforts to organize an Alamo Drafthouse, Anthology Film Archives, and Film at Lincoln Center theater have given the space some momentum. UAW Local 2110 – which represents staff at museums, universities and publishers, among other workplaces – has been a key New York player in the drive to organize more workers in cultural institutions in general.

If management raises no objections within the next week, the union will be certified and can then begin contract negotiations on behalf of the workers.

June 17, 10:02 a.m. Updated with Film Forum comment.

Melvin B. Baillie