Stagehands, technicians and engineers at Brooklyn Bowl in Fishtown are continuing efforts to certify their union and get a new labor deal.
Organized through the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 8, members are seeking voluntary recognition by their employer Live Nation prior to the end of a mail-in election to officially certify the union through the National Labor Relations Board. The group held a rally outside of the venue on Aug. 1, which was attended by over five dozen people, in the hopes of receiving recognition.
Attempts to organize at Brooklyn Bowl have been ongoing since the fall of 2021. Stagehands at the venue contend that like-minded employees at neighboring venues have been given more expansive health and retirement benefits and protections. Securing better long-term stability is the main goal.
“Next door at the Fillmore, the workers get health benefits, more money, job protections doing the exact same job that we do,” said George Spencer, a lighting engineer at Brooklyn Bowl, in a press release. “We just want a fair deal.”
Roughly 43 people are expected to vote on and be part of the union. Ballots are due back to the NLRB by Aug. 27 and will be tallied on Aug. 29. Should the vote certify the union, collective bargaining can start soon after. However, collective bargaining can also start if an employer voluntarily recognizes the union, which is what Brooklyn Bowl employees are pursuing.
Local 8 has already helped organize Live Nation stagehands at other establishments such as the Theatre of Living Arts, Tower Theater and The Met. In all, IATSE represents over 160,000 employees in the entertainment industry, including technicians, artisans and craftspersons, throughout the country.
“Philly is a union town,” said IATSE representative Daniel Little. “The labor movement in the United States started in Philadelphia. Live event workers at Brooklyn Bowl are coming together for their mutual aid and protection. Everyone who works should be in a union.”
Although he doesn’t expect Live Nation to voluntarily recognize the union, Little added that IATSE has long had a good working relationship with the company and expects a fair deal to eventually be worked out.
Brooklyn Bowl, a 1,000-person capacity building that opened to the public in November 2021, serves as a music venue, bowling alley and restaurant. Originally established in New York City, it has additional spots in Las Vegas and Nashville.