Los Angeles, CA – The IATSE has been successful in an important election to represent projectionists at the Arclight Cinemas here. The IA had filed a petition for recognition of a bargaining unit consisting of both full- and part-time projectionists working at the state of the art facility in Hollywood, which is part of a complex that also houses the historic Cinerama Dome. The projectionists will be represented by IA Local 150. The 14-screen Arclight caters to adult filmgoers and features an all-reserved seating policy, a book and souvenir store, and a café.
There has been an agreement in place covering workers who perform maintenance on projection equipment, and those who work festivals and studio screenings. The Arclight projectionists themselves, however, were not covered under this agreement. When the IA filed the petition, Decurion Corporation, which owns both the Arclight and Pacific Theaters, contended that the existing contract was a bar to the petition. The issue was taken to the Regional Director of the NLRB, where the IA, represented by West Coast Counsel James Varga, prevailed in arguing that the union did not waive its right to organize these employees. After the NLRB issued its ruling that the petition was appropriate, an election was ordered. The employer appealed the decision but was rejected by the NLRB Office of Appeals. The IA won the election 7-0.
The importance of this election underscores the on-going attempts by International President Thomas C. Short to get the Locals under the IATSE jurisdiction to re-examine their crafts in light of new technology and the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace. Short is the first IA President who has taken a hands-on approach to encourage the Locals to re-orient themselves, expand their jurisdictions and not simply settle for the status quo. In the case of Local 150, projectionists are already being trained in digital projection, which is the newest technological innovation and one which will affect exhibition most immediately.