Workers at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn have again filed to unionize after the theater boasted record attendance during the opening weekend release of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.”
According to a press release first issued on Monday and confirmed by IndieWire (and first reported by Patch), over 150 venue employees, or more than 75 percent of the theater’s full and part-time staff, signed a petition for certification with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as represented by United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2179.
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The theater staff alleges health and safety concerns, corporate restructuring, staffing issues, and bullying and abuse by management. It also claims that after the Brooklyn location posted about serving 304,000 guests during the “Barbenheimer” release weekend, including selling 53,721 chicken tenders, staff was merely thanked with sandwiches from Panera Bread and an email from Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor. Taylor retired earlier this month.
“The workers of Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn demand that the company respect its exploited workforce and share the profits reaped year-round with those who sacrifice their bodies, minds, and hearts to create those profits,” the release concludes.
When reached by IndieWire, Alamo Drafthouse had no comment.
In June, projectionists at the same Alamo Drafthouse location also filed for a petition to unionize with IATSE Local 306. Two days later, management informed employees that they sought to do away with projectionist jobs and replace them with a more expansive “technical engineer” role, though the organization said that the decision to switch to the new job was made before the NLRB petition. That effort to unionize is ongoing. And again back in 2020 at the Drafthouse Brooklyn, IndieWire exclusively reported that employees petitioned for hazard pay and health insurance, with roughly half the staff signing the petition.
The Brooklyn employees, however, would not be the first to attempt to organize as a union. In 2021, an organization called Drafthouse United based out of the theater chain’s flagship Austin location claimed it had majority support among workers at the location to petition as a union and had submitted a request for voluntary recognition to management, seeking workplace improvements.
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