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Hollywood Pantages Ushers Reach Tentative Deal on First Labor Contract

After seven months of negotiations, ushers at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre have reached a tentative agreement on a first three-year labor contract with their employer.

The Nederlander Organization-owned theater and union IATSE Local B-192 agreed to the provisional pact affecting over 70 ushers on Monday, March 11. The new agreement improves wages — ushers will see a 25 percent increase in their rates over the course of the contract, to a minimum of $21.50 an hour by the end of the deal. It institutes bereavement pay and time and a half pay for ushers working holidays and provides ushers with additional income if they work seven consecutive days in a row or three shifts in a day. The pact further requires theater management to provide 24 hours’ notice of a canceled shift, details a grievance process for ushers and provides an annual clothing stipend to help union members pay for their uniforms. The ratification vote will take place some time next week, with the exact time still to be determined.

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“We are pleased to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with Local B-192 on a new collective bargaining agreement that will cover the Front of House Ushers at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre,” Hollywood Pantages Theatre and Broadway in Hollywood president Jeff Loeb said in a statement. “The Union will be scheduling a ratification vote for membership at the end of March.”

The parties reached an agreement a few months after a dispute over wages that spilled out into the public in December, when ushers distributed pamphlets criticizing what they called “poverty wages” at a performance of MJ: The Musical. “Ushers greet you with a smile, help you to your seats, answer your questions, and make sure you have a wonderful experience at the theater,” the leaflets stated. “But ushers at the Pantages are paid wages that make us ‘Extremely Low Income’ as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.” The union also circulated a petition calling for the theater to “negotiate a fair contract.” In December, IATSE Local B-192 president Nicole Miller said that most of the theater’s ushers were paid L.A.’s minimum wage, $16.78 an hour.

In response, the theater said it was “disappointed” that the union would speak out on the issue, since the parties had been negotiating at that point for a few months. “It is always our goal and intent to reach agreements with the unions that represent our employees through good-faith negotiations at the bargaining table,” the theater continued. In the period that followed this back-and-forth, movement was made in sidebar conversations and at the bargaining table, Miller says.

“I think everybody feels really good about it [the deal],” says Miller. “Especially before we did the leafletting in the December, we were getting the feeling that there was extreme resistance especially to the wages going up much higher than minimum wage or $17, 18 an hour, [so the deal] was a great achievement.”

The ushers officially unionized in April 2023 after a majority expressed support in a National Labor Relations Board election. The ushers originally began organizing due to a combination of factors including their desire to raise wages, gain more job security and join colleagues in other roles in having union representation, according to Miller.

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