Workers at the legendary Greenwich Village Film Forum have filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board to join a local United Auto Workers.
Film Forum workers filed the petition on Tuesday in a bid to have approximately 50 workers represented in collective bargaining by UAW Local 2110, the New York-based culture and education-focused local behind the unions at Barnard College, the Bronx Museum of Arts, the ACLU, HarperCollins and Columbia University, among others. Staff members in the union’s desired bargaining unit include full-time and part-time workers in theatres, administration, facilities, programming and advertising. The local says an “overwhelming majority” of workers have petitioned the NLRB.
According to Syndicate of cinema forums, which launched a Twitter profile on Tuesday, the group seeks to foster “a more equitable, ethical and sustainable workplace.” The group adds that, if the union is certified, contract negotiations would cover issues of hiring practices, health and safety, wages, organizational development and workplace rights.
Film Forum had no comment when contacted by The Hollywood Reporter tuesday. Management has until May 5 to respond to the group’s petition under NLRB rules, Local 2110 says.
“We are very pleased that the Film Forum staff is organizing with our union,” UAW Local 2110 President Maida Rosenstein said in a statement. “It’s fantastic to see so many arts and culture workers unionizing. Collective bargaining will allow Film Forum workers to have a say in their terms of employment. Ultimately, unionization will make the Film Forum a stronger and more sustainable place to work for everyone.
While American movie theaters with a large union workforce are currently relatively rare, the labor movement has intensified in the space in recent years, and UAW Local 2110 has made inroads. The local is currently negotiating on behalf of film workers with Film at Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Anthology Film Archives. In early April, while locked in contract negotiations with management, employees of Anthology Film Archives went on strikeadvocating for decent wages and a contract to be brought to union members.
Although the Film Forum has only four screens, the 50-plus-year-old theater has an outsized cultural footprint. Natasha Lyonne recently told THR that she got her film education in the theater and it was her “favorite place” in New York City.