Fiserv Forum Workers to Get $15/Hour
Bucks agree to what union hails as "industry-leading, standard-setting contract".
The Milwaukee Bucks and a union representing approximately 1,000 workers at Fiserv Forum have reached an agreement on a contract that would raise wages to $15 per hour by the July 2020 Democratic National Convention.
The team had previously pledged to raise wages to $15 an hour by 2023, but the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization (MASH) had advocated for a union contract and faster raises. The agreement also establishes a grievance procedure for employment disputes and a just-cause provision for discipline and termination. Included in the contract are cost of living adjustments and longevity pay increases.
The agreement removes a potential issue during the DNC. The union, led by Peter Rickman, has become increasingly visible with the approaching Democratic National Convention. Representatives stood between shuttle buses for national media members and the arena, handing out flyers advocating for their cause earlier this month during a media walkthrough.
Rickman said he doesn’t believe the action had a substantial impact on its own. The union and Bucks had long been negotiating by that point. “I think we can all agree it was bumpy at times, but that’s how negotiations go,” said Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry at a press conference announcing the deal.
Union members Kenny Green and Lauren Stevens praised the union, the Bucks and their coworkers at the press conference. “We know workers are stronger when they work together,” said Stevens. “We’re all in this together,” said Green, a 13-year veteran of the Bradley Center and now Fiserv Forum. The two both stated that they hope the impact of the agreement extends beyond the arena and impacts the whole community. “I hope it creates the path for everyone in Milwaukee to make a living wage,” said Green.
Workers already earning $15 an hour or more will receive a $1.50 an hour raise starting July 1st. Arena workers were previously paid a minimum of $12.50 per hour when Fiserv Forum opened. The deal also includes a retroactive minimum wage increase to $13.50 dating back to January 1st.
The contract between MASH and the Bucks’ Deer District LLC affiliate and arena concessioner Levy Restaurants covers ushers, security, concessions workers, guest service representatives and a number of other positions. The Wisconsin Center District owns Fiserv Forum, but the arena is leased to the team. Deer District owns the development around the arena, but those businesses, including the Levy-operated MECCA bar, are not part of the contract.
MASH, formed in 2018, is a successor to the Alliance for Good Jobs. The Alliance and the team reached an agreement in 2016 that created a framework for Fiserv Forum hiring, wages and other conditions. As part of that agreement, the Bucks agreed to hire 50 percent of “end use employees” from Milwaukee zip codes hard hit by underemployment or unemployment. MASH was created as an entity to implement the deal. The union operates independently, but has received support from the Service Employees International Union.
The contract is scheduled to run through June 2023, but Rickman is optimistic that provisions of the current deal will allow a smooth transition to a future one. The new deal establishes a process for hiring and promotions, as well as creating a workgroup made up of labor and management that will meet monthly to address issues. “When we go back to the table we will have taken up the issues,” said Rickman.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.
- Milwaukee Again Bidding To Host DNC - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 28th, 2021
- Milwaukee Invited To Apply For 2024 DNC - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 3rd, 2021
- City Hall: How Much Did DNC Cost Milwaukee? - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 16th, 2020
- Get Your DNC Memorabilia - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 25th, 2020
- Murphy’s Law: Will Biden’s DNC Snub Hurt Him In State? - Bruce Murphy - Aug 24th, 2020
- Activist Coalition Holds Largest March of DNC - Ethan Duran - Aug 21st, 2020
- DNC: Last Night Brings Little Exposure for Milwaukee - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 20th, 2020
- With DNC as Backdrop, A Discussion of Black Liberation - Ethan Duran - Aug 20th, 2020
- Suburban Protesters March From Tosa to DNC - Ethan Duran - Aug 20th, 2020
- DNC: With A “Holy Mackerel” Tony Evers Kicks Off DNC - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 19th, 2020
Read more about DNC here
- Back in the News: Bucks Owners Continue to Cash In - Bruce Murphy - Nov 28th, 2022
- Murphy’s Law: Bucks Subsidy An Issue in US Senate Race - Bruce Murphy - May 9th, 2022
- Murphy’s Law: Bucks Franchise Worth $1.86 Billion - Bruce Murphy - Jan 25th, 2021
- Op Ed: County Parks Lost Funding to Bucks Arena - Patricia Jursik - Jul 7th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Fiserv Forum Workers to Get $15/Hour - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 29th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Beat Hiring Targets on Fiserv Forum - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 20th, 2019
- Murphy’s Law: Taxpayers Make Bucks, Brewers Rich - Bruce Murphy - Apr 16th, 2019
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Unveil Master Plan for Park East - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 15th, 2019
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Plan Massive Arena Signs - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 12th, 2019
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks’ New Bar Is “The MECCA” - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 7th, 2019
Read more about New Bucks Arena here