Pabst Theater Group Refuses Union Recognition
Theater group says it will only recognize union after an NLRB election.
Workers at venues owned by the Pabst Theater Group announced Wednesday that their employer refused to voluntarily recognize their union.
Pabst Theater Group (PTG) employees working in hospitality, the box office and as event staff have been organizing a union with the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization (MASH).
The theater group’s leadership finally provided their response Tuesday, saying they would only recognize the results of an election held by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
In a statement, the theater group said, “We feel that the best way to determine whether a majority of employees desire to be represented by the union is through a free and fair secret ballot election…We have respectfully declined the union’s invitation to bypass that election procedure and have asked the union to file a petition with the NLRB to request an election. Our company has a long history of working with unions and we are committed to honoring the results of an election certified by the NLRB.”
The stage hands at PTG are currently represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).
Union organizers are confident they’ll win the election. Organizers say that approximately 80% of employees who would be eligible to be represented by the union have signed authorization cards, and that a strong majority have already signed up as members of the union.
Lulu Sanchez, another organizer, said the workers that make up the bargaining unit seeking recognition are a “really strong group.” She wasn’t worried by the prospect of an NLRB election, and called the refusal of voluntary recognition “a little hiccup in the road.”
“I think it’ll be fine,” she said.
Otto said it was “an unnecessary delay” to refuse voluntary recognition of the union. “But it doesn’t really make a difference, because we have the vast majority of our staff already signed up as members of this union, so we’re not gonna lose a vote.”
He said management was attempting to characterize their action as an attempt to discern whether the employees really want to have a union represent them, but it was the employees who requested this. “I’ll tell you, I was there,” Otto noted. “They [Pabst Theater Group] were approached by us, their workers, directly telling them this is what we want. So them trying to represent this as something outside their staff that came in and tried to form a union here is patently false.”
Update: Story has been updated to reflect that in the final paragraph Justin Otto was speaking of the Pabst Theater Group, not union leaders.
More about the Union Effort at Pabst Theater Group
- Pabst Theater Group Disputes That Union Contract Finalized - Graham Kilmer - Dec 22nd, 2022
- Pabst Theater Group Union Approves First Labor Contract - Graham Kilmer - Dec 15th, 2022
- Pabst Theater Group Workers Win Union Election - Graham Kilmer - Jun 1st, 2022
- Bernie Sanders Supports Pabst Unionization - Graham Kilmer - Apr 21st, 2022
- Pabst Theater Group Refuses Union Recognition - Graham Kilmer - Apr 13th, 2022
- Pabst Theater Group Workers Want A Union - Graham Kilmer - Apr 5th, 2022
Read more about Union Effort at Pabst Theater Group here
2 thoughts on “Pabst Theater Group Refuses Union Recognition”
Gary Witt is the CEO of the Pabst Theater Group but who else owns is an owner? The PTG runs Miller High Life Theatre, the Pabst Theater and also operates the Riverside Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom and the Back Room at Colectivo Coffee.