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Alamo Drafthouse Cinema workers unionize, ask management to recognize union

Employees at the South Lamar location are asking for better pay and transparency regarding COVID-19 protocols, among other things.

AUSTIN, Texas — Workers at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar Boulevard have unionized and are now asking management to recognize the union, according to a release from Industrial Workers of the World.

The union, called Drafthouse United, submitted the recognition request on Feb. 14 along with a list of workplace improvements union members wish to see implemented. Key requests, per the release, include wage and benefit increases, paid sick leave, transparency regarding COVID-19 practices and polices and a fix to building maintenance requests. 

“Alamo locations in other states are mandated to pay their employees higher wages, but we are consistently one of the most profitable Drafthouses in the company … We pay for the company to open new locations, while ours is falling apart," server Zach Corpstein said in the release. 

Several other current and former employees shared statements echoing similar sentiments regarding the cinema's handling of the pandemic. In a letter explaining why workers are unionizing, Corpsetein said management initially implemented health and safety guidelines for workers and customers, but that those guidelines were quietly rescinded over time without telling employees or customers.

He also addressed pay issues and staffing issues brought about due to low pay and "churning new employees through training quickly and throwing them into situations normally reserved for veterans." 

"Our aim in unionizing is not to submit a list of demands to Alamo Drafthouse’s Corporate offices, but one of proposed solutions, so that we can work together to create a better future," Corpstein said.

Former Austin councilmember and congressional candidate Greg Casar tweeted his support for the group on Tuesday night: 

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