NLRB Rules on Union Charges Accusing Rhino NW of Unfair Labor Practices

SEATTLE, May 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — A complaint alleging unfair labor practices and notice of hearing was issued by Region 19 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against event staffing services Rhino NW, paving the way to a negotiated contract for some 70 local riggers. In the complaint, issued on April 27, 2016, the NLRB alleges that Rhino NW unlawfully retaliated against riggers who serve as leaders in the union organizing drive to negotiate a contract.

The complaint is designed to force Rhino NW to honor its employees’ federally protected collective bargaining rights. The hearing is scheduled to take place on July 26, 2016, 14 months following the date the original petition was filed by International Alliance of Theatrical Stage (IATSE) Local 15 seeking to represent the riggers of Rhino. Since the NLRB officially certified Local 15 as the exclusive bargaining representative of these workers, Rhino has refused to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with Local 15 violating federal law.

Sal Ponce, President of IATSE Local 15, said that this action by the federal government is another important step toward getting a contract. “The riggers are simply trying to bring Rhino NW to the table to negotiate a fair contract,” said Ponce. “In the end, we want nothing more than a contract that provides a fair wage and industry-standard working conditions.”

Rhino has consistently refused to bargain with IATSE Local 15 despite having been ordered to do so by the federal government. It has removed union-supporting employees from its schedule and deactivated their employment in order to punish them for standing up for the union and to discourage other employees from exercising their rights.

“The employees have been attempting to collectively bargain for more than a year. At this time they have little job security, no sick leave or health insurance, lack family-friendly scheduling, and work at hourly rates well below industry standards. They need and deserve a contract,” said Ponce.

The riggers do the critical backstage work at Western Washington live events and concerts such as The Gorge (George), xFinity Arena (Everett), White River Amphitheater (Auburn), Tacoma Dome (Tacoma), and occasionally at the two Seattle sports stadiums, Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field.

2014 NFL Kickoff a HUGE Success

Members of IATSE Local 15 were proud to play an instrumental part in the celebratory 2014 NFL Kickoff pre-game event prior to the first game of the NFL season matching the Seattle Seahawks against the Green Bay Packers on September 4, 2014 at Century Link Field in Seattle, WA.  The event featured musical entertainment by Pharrell Williams and Soundgarden, appearances by former Seahawks including Steve Largent and Shaun Alexander, plus a video documentary of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl winning 2013 season.  The production in the North parking lot took a week to set up and three days to strike.  Atomic Design did the set design and staging, Firehouse Productions did sound reinforcement, and Chaos Visual did video, among others.  More than one hundred Local 15 workers, from riggers to carpenters, audio/visual technicians and grips were employed over the course of the production.  The Seahawks beat the Packers 36 to 16.  Go Seahawks!  We hope to have this event revisit Seattle again next year.

IA15 Welcomes New Business Agent

The IATSE Local 15 Executive Board is pleased to announce that we have hired Mylor Treneer to the position of Business Agent for IATSE Local 15. Brother Treneer comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience in our industry from both sides of the negotiating table, having served as Local 15’s President from 1982-­‐1986, President of the Theatrical Federation of Greater Seattle, AFL-­‐CIO from 1984-­‐1986, and having held management positions at The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Meydenbauer Center, and Seattle Center.

The Executive Board wishes to extend a special thank you to Brothers and Sisters Bill Aston, Kevin Cuba, Jeremiah Foglesong, Betsy Harris, Al Hiskey, Kerry Korsgaard, Sue Masser, and Janos Szablya for their hard work and dedication to the candidate search committee and interview process.

Supporting Each Other

Tonight at Seattle City Hall there is a hearing about to start regarding the proposed basketball arena. We are here to share our views with the City and County. Stay tuned to hear what happens with this issue!



Election Results Released

If you are a wondering who won the Officer Elections at the General Meeting last night, please sign in and visit the Presidents Report group on the Backstage section of our website.

2012 Officer Elections

December 5, 2011 at 5pm – Seattle Labor Temple, Meeting Room 8

Please be on time and make your voices heard.  Voting takes place early in the meeting.  If you are unable to attend the meeting, contact Betsy and she will instruct you in how to attain an absentee ballot.  Nominations can be viewed in the Backstage section of our website.

Notice to City workers on Viaduct alternatives during closure

The following email has been approved for Citywide Broadcast by the Mayor’s Office

Point of contact for this Broadcast:   Eric Mamroth, Employee Transportation Coordinator, 684-5420

Take Charge of Your Commute!

There will be a 9-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct starting October 21 at 7:30 p.m. through October 31 at 5:30 a.m.   This closure will affect traffic along the length of the State Route 99 corridor, and long delays are expected on Interstate 5 and other transportation corridors.

The City of Seattle strongly encourages employees to consider alternatives to driving alone to work.  Employees can take advantage of many transportation options including the City’s ORCA card.

Special October ORCA Card Offer: Between now and October 28, employees who do not  currently have the City’s subsidized ORCA card are encouraged to go to the Treasury Operations Office (Seattle Municipal Tower,  42nd floor) between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, to receive a pre-loaded ORCA card tailored to their transit travel needs.  The ORCA card can be used on King County Metro buses, Community Transit buses, Sound Transit Link light rail, Sounder commuter trains and Regional Express buses, Washington State Ferries and the Water Taxi.

Special Vanpool Offer: Alternatively, if you prefer, you can join an existing vanpool or form a new vanpool.   The City will reimburse your October costs. Form a new vanpool and receive a $77 gift card from King County Metro Vanpool .   Try it for two weeks.  When you see how easy it is, you can opt to use your ORCA card subsidy to pay for a Metro vanpool.  For more information, contact King County Metro vanpool:,  206-625-4500.

Please remember: if you currently have an ORCA card and have not used it in the last two (2) months you need to:

1. Verify that your card still works.  To do that, tap it on at ORCA reader on the bus, at a transit center, or at the train platform.

2. If your card does not work, go to the Treasury Operations Office (Seattle Municipal Tower,  42nd floor)  between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to get the card replaced. There will be a $5 replacement fee.


In the face of a coordinated full-scale attack on public employees and on Americans’ fundamental freedom of association, the Washington State Labor Council is working with its affiliates and progressive community allies to organize a week of action APRIL 2-8. Mark your calendars for these events and make plans to join us as we demand that the bankers and billionaires — and their Republican handmaidens in government — stop the attacks on working people and that they share in the sacrifice as our nation struggles to recover from the economic havoc their greed and malfeasance has caused.

Of special note, SUNDAY, APRIL 3 — 6:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle — Join IATSE Local 15 for Solidarity Night at “Billy Elliott: The Musical.” Living in a coal mining town in Northern England, young Billy Elliot doesn’t take to boxing lessons and is instead drawn to ballet. His father and brother, striking miners, struggle to understand and support his passion for dance. This is a Union production. Actors are members of Actors Equity; stagehands, IATSE Local 15; hair and makeup, IATSE Local 488; and wardrobe, IATSE Local 887; and musicians, AFM 76-493 and other locals. No-host bar begins at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $26.30 to $56.90. For tickets or information, contact IATSE Local 15 at 206-441-1515 ext. 225 or Tickets at these group rates are limited, so please get in touch now!

for more information see

Monday, April 4th,at 4:30 theatrical unions, led by IATSE Local 15, will rally at Seattle Center and march to the Seattle Labor Temple to remind the world that Seattle is a union town with good labor-management relations. IATSE employers will be asked to affirm their support for workers’ rights.  For more information about this event please contact BR Bigman.
We will have a sign making session at 3:30 at the Center House food court.  Bring your artistic skills and slogan ideas.  Paper stock and pens will be provided.  Please RSVP to Bess: if you can make it to this pre-event.
Volunteer credit hours will be awarded for this event.
This is a chance to get involved and come together to show our  Union pride.  Please come and bring your families and friends.

Int'l Solidarity Event

Sister Bess Sullivan on the TV Machine

Website changes coming…

Changes are imminent for and the Backstage area.  After a lengthy discussion during the last Executive Board meeting, the following are some of the changes that have been recommended to be implemented on the sites. will focus on being the public face of IATSE Local 15 with content aimed at answering questions for our clients and folks looking for information on how to join.  A Merchandise page, FAQ page and Job Postings page will be added soon.  The Toolbox area, Cue Sheet Archive and any News for Members and Permit Workers will move Backstage.

Members and Permit Workers are encouraged to login Backstage to find out what further changes are being proposed.   If you are a Member or Permit Worker who still doesn’t have Backstage access, please send an email to web(at) to request an invitation to get an account.

Please come to the monthly membership meeting next Monday, February 7, 2011 at 5:30pm to share any comments or concerns you might have, or you can send an email to the address listed above with your comments if you are unable to attend.

photo by Luc Viatour

photo by Luc Viatour

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