Union Battle In Atlanta

Employees of an Atlanta-based stagehands company are trying to unionize in an attempt to combat low wages and safety concerns.

Photo: crew1.com

Crew One Productions, which has locations in cities including Nashville and Memphis, is a non-union production company that, for instance, contracted for the July 15 Beyoncé performance in Atlanta.

Employees, however, are attempting to organize, hoping to erase eroding wages and benefits, according to labor blog In These Times.

IATSE organizer Daniel Di Tolla told the blog these contractors are “labor pimps” that “hoard profits.” A stagehand who would make $21 to $24 an hour plus benefits for a big performance gets paid as little as $10 with no benefits at Crew One, according to Di Tolla.

It is also difficult to get the stagehands to unionize because there is too much migration at the company, he told ITT.

A recent vote to unionize Crew One was overwhelmingly popular, according to the blog, with 116 wokers voting in favor of union with 60 opposed. However, Di Tolla said the turnover is “almost constant,” which discourages unionization and he doubts “half of them will ever work for Crew One again.”

A Crew One rigger and union activist told the blog that the nature of his position is dangerous but that the company often does not provide the needed safety equipment (Crew One is a “platinum supporter” of the Event Safety Alliance, as noted on its website).

Others have complained that they are subjected to “petty indignities” like not receiving drinking water. Crew One did not respond to the story, and Pollstar reached out via email but had no response at press time.