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Hotel, Broadcast, Theater Workers Join AFL-CIO Unions


Hotel workers, broadcast technicians, TV and theater employees are just some of the workers who’ve recently joined AFL-CIO unions.

The 705 workers at Levy Restaurants at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., the new home of the Brooklyn Nets, won union recognition with UNITE HERE Local 1 through a majority sign-up agreement in which an employer agrees to recognize the worker’s choice of a union when a majority of workers sign union authorization cards.    

Also, 20 Restaurant Associates workers at Citigroup in New York and 14 Currito workers at Newark International Airport joined Local 1.

In Chicago, more than 300 workers at two of Chicago's top-rated hotels won a voice on the job with UNITE HERE Local 100. The workers are employed at the Waldorf Astoria and Hotel Palomar. Palomar workers said they faced an aggressive anti-union campaign by the company, which told them the restaurant would close if they joined the union.   

Meanwhile, the 130 member-plus crew of the reality show “Fashion Star” won a union voice with the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). IATSE President Matthew Loeb said:

The technicians who produce this programming have the same value and issues of workers in scripted television and deserve the same benefits and working conditions.   

Stage technicians at the August Wilson Center (AWC) for African American Culture in Pittsburgh voted unanimously to join IATSE. They work lighting, sound, audio-visual, special effects and props for theatrical productions at the AWC.

Workers at the Univision-owned TV station KABE in Bakersfield, Calif., voted in favor of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA (NABET-CWA) representation. The more than 20 workers said they faced intimidation and immense pressuring during one-on-one meetings with managers. Todd Thorpe, a production employee since 1989 with the station, said:

I had heard that Univision didn't like unions and the company certainly proved this to be a difficult process. But we all stuck together and watched each other's backs and kept at it.

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