Unionized workers at the prestigious New York movie theater Film Forum have ratified their first contract, about a year after the group voted to form a union.
An “overwhelming majority” The 45-strong union, which includes both full- and part-time workers, voted to ratify the five-year deal, the union said, declining to give exact numbers. The deal takes effect on July 1, 2023 and will run until June 30, 2028.
“After eight months of negotiations, we are delighted to have reached agreement on a union contract,” Stephanie Gross, head of repertory programs and a member of the negotiating committee, said in a statement. “This contract will make a real difference for the Film Forum staff. The wage increases are long awaited and well deserved.”
The union is affiliated with UAW Local 2110, which represents workers in museums, universities, publishing houses and other cultural institutions. In the film sector, the union also represents workers at the Anthology Film Archives.
The new contract salaries will increase by an average of 12 percent. The starting salary for administrative staff will increase from a minimum of $35,000 per year to $46,000 per year, while all administrative staff will receive annual percentage increases of between 3 and 5 percent. Part-time theater workers are paid a minimum of $18 an hour, with annual increases ranging from $1 to $1.25 an hour. The minimum wage for staff at the facilities is $33 per hour, with annual increases ranging from $1 to $1.25 per hour.
The pact also creates a 403(b) matching program, increases vacation pay for cinema and theater workers, continues Film Forum’s unified health plan that requires no employee contributions, and introduces four weeks of paid parental leave. Full-time employees get 10 to 20 days vacation depending on their job at the cinema. The contract also regulates, among other things, a complaints procedure, paid leave for diversity training and a work management committee.
In June 2022, in a National Labor Relations Board vote, Film Forum workers unanimously voted to merge with UAW Local 2110. At the time, the union said its new members wanted to change pay, standardize working conditions and transform organizational development practices through collective bargaining together. “Union representation ensures safety and justice in the workplace during these uncertain times,” theater manager Claudia Francois said in a statement at the time.