It was a union drive that started almost two and a half years ago. Now, employees working with the Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee are headed to the National Labor Relations Board to petition for an election. Interest in the union had been sparked as a result of pandemic-era theater closures, but intensified in the past six months, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
According to the Sentinel’s reporting, about 82% of PTG’s roughly 60 part-time employees from their box office, event staff and hospitality divisions signed union authorization cards with the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Association, otherwise known as MASH, as of April 4. MASH is the same group that successfully helped Fiserv Forum employees establish a union recognized by Milwaukee Bucks management in 2020.
With the percentages in their favor, MASH president Peter Rickman sent a public letter to PTG CEO Gary Witt on the 4th seeking voluntary recognition of the union. In the meantime, workers rallied this Wednesday in front of the Riverside Theater for their right to be recognized as a union. They were joined by Rickman and other current MASH members.
“We expect that they will allow a free and fair choice of Pabst Theater Group workers to form their union,”said Rickman. “We expect they will do so without relying on the bureaucratic machinery that, unfortunately, federal labor law allows too many employers to take advantage of.”
In a subsequent statement, Pabst Theater Group said that they had received the request and that while they would respect the outcome of an NLRB election, they believed that “the best way to determine whether a majority of employees desire to be represented by the union is through a […] election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board,” not through their own recognition.
Reporting Courtesy of Sean Hagerup for Labor Radio
Image Courtesy of John Begalke Flickr