The dynamics of the 2023 economy have led to a dramatic increase in the power of workers. While there has been a widespread shortage of workers to fill open positions, many employees have banded together in unions in their pursuit of “fair” compensation.
The movement appears to have arrived in exhibition, with Alamo Drafthouse seeing staff at two of its 39 locations vote over the past few weeks to unionize. Employee representatives at Alamo’s Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan locations cited the company’s slow response in taking steps to address issues such as low staffing levels during mega-events such as the “Barbenheimer” crush of the summer. They also pointed to a lack of finding ways to tip back-of-house workers.
Alamo’s founder Tim League is reported to have resisted efforts to see workers unionize, saying that these issues would be best handled through direct discussion between ownership and staff. The company went so far as to post anti-union flyers at both locations and enlist outside speakers to explain to the staff the downside of operating inside a union.
Despite these efforts, workers at both locations voted overwhelmingly to create a union, marking the first of what could be many locations to unionize at the Alamo and perhaps other large circuits. Workers have already created unions at a handful of independent theatres including Anthology Film Achieves and Film Forum in New York.
See also: Workers at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Bring a Union to Brooklyn (The Village Voice)