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.
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.