Film at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, New York (via Wikimedia Commons)

Staff at Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) in New York voted for a union today, November 23, joining thousands of cultural workers across the country who have created bargaining units in recent years.

In a ballot count today, the workers voted 29 to 4 in favor of organizing with Local 2110 UAW. The new union includes employees in film programming, development, communications, and front-facing theater operations. 

In March, FLC cut half of its 50-person full-time workforce and furloughed or laid off its entire part-time staff.

“The pandemic has magnified long standing issues, like the lack of job security and inadequate benefits, and theater staff are among the most vulnerable,” said Manny Lage-Valera, a theater manager at FLC, in a statement to Hyperallergic. “By forming a union, we can erase some of the structural boundaries between front-of-house and administrative staff, and fight for a more inclusive, equitable workplace.” 

The workers say that they organized to bring the institution’s policies in line with goals around diversity, transparency, fair compensation, job and benefits security, and health and safety issues.

“We work at this organization because we love both the institution and the work we do,” said Dan Sullivan, an assistant programmer at FLC. “We want nothing more than the ability to concentrate on doing our jobs well, especially under these historically difficult circumstances,” the worker continued. “But in order for that to happen, we need the leverage and security that a union will bring.”  

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Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...