Standing on the bed of a blue pick-up truck, draped with a red Industrial Workers of the World banner and energized by guitar and fiddle music, Shattuck Cinemas workers and their supporters addressed working conditions at the theater Wednesday.
The rally outside the downtown theater on Shattuck Avenue near Kittredge Street was a prelude to the National Labor Relations Board-sponsored union election scheduled at the theater today (Friday).
“They need to treat us with respect,” Ryan Hatt told the crowd that grew to around 50 listeners. “There are no benefits, unless you count free movies and popcorn. People working [at the Shattuck] for over six years get $8.05 cents an hour. What we’re fighting for is a voice.”
The Shattuck Cinemas is owned by Los Angeles-based Landmark Theaters, which did not return calls before deadline.
Hatt has worked at the theater for nine months. In addition to a lack of health benefits, he said he does not get scheduled breaks and there is no procedure to address managers about complaints.
“There are no sick days, no holidays and no overtime,” he said.
Hatt works for $7.25 an hour. Workers are scheduled for reviews and raises at three months, six months and a year on the job, he said. But Hatt said he has yet to be reviewed.
“I got a three cents an hour raise,” he said. “It’s an insult.”
The workers say they are sure they’ll get a union, but that’s just the beginning.
“I worry about how long they will draw out the contract,” said Sharon Shatterly, a worker recently transferred to the Shattuck Cinemas after the closing of the Act1 and 2 Landmarks Theater on Center Street.
Organizer Hajit Singh Gill says workers at the only other unionized Landmarks Theater, in Cambridge, Mass., have been bargaining since July when they won their union and are still without a contract.
IWW—better known as the Wobblies—has organized other workers in Berkeley, including the Ecology Center’s curbside recyclers and workers at Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabric.