Minneapolis music venue First Avenue has officially recognized a workers union, The Star Tribune reports. The union will represent around 200 hospitality workers employed across First Avenue and the six other Twin Cities venues First Avenue Productions operates: 7th Street Entry, Depot Tavern, Turf Club, Fine Line Music Café, Palace Theatre, and Fitzgerald Theater.
President and CEO Dayna Frank said in a Friday statement that First Avenue Productions will voluntarily recognize the union, meaning that employees and management can begin negotiating a contract. She shared: “Bargaining in good faith will require everyone to look at the challenges we face as a whole, and how we can strengthen our workplace, incorporate more perspectives and ultimately move forward together. While this might be difficult, and will inevitably result in change, I am committed to working together to address those challenges.”
Event and service staff first proposed unionizing to management on Thursday (November 4). Unite Here Local 17, Minnesota’s overarching hospitality workers union, will represent the unionized First Avenue Productions staff. More than 70% of the roughly 200 workers who voted on the proposal voted in favor of unionization. Issues cited by staff included low wages, spotty training, and last-minute scheduling.
“I’m organizing because I love this job. I care so much about this place and about live music. I want to make First Ave better for me and my coworkers, I would love to not have to work three jobs,” Maddy Loch, a member of the event staff at First Avenue, shared in a statement.
Employee Tony Bosak also cited his passion for his profession as a factor in wanting to unionize, sharing: “I love my job, I put a lot of effort in, and I don’t feel appreciated. We all want support and recognition.”