‘Barbenheimer’ Inspires Movie Theater Employees to Unionize
Amid the countless strikes this year pushing for better pay and working conditions across a variety of industries, from actors to auto workers and nurses, yet another group of workers have come together to form a union — this time inspired by an unlikely source: Barbenheimer.
Associated Press reports the chaos of Barbenheimer — the cultural phenomenon surrounding the same-day releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer on July 21 — sparked workers at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema theater in Manhattan to form a union in response to the working conditions they faced over the summer.
"That really pushed us to the edge. It was just the constant under-staffing and the emotional exhaustion," Maggie Quick, an employee at the Manhattan Alamo Drafthouse, told AP.
"People were waiting longer than usual for their food and that makes them short-tempered and impatient. We’re the ones facing customers. It takes a toll, a mental toll, to be yelled at by guests because their drink has been taking an hour," Tyler Trautman, another Alamo Drafthouse employee, said.
AP reports Manhattan Alamo Drafthouse employees consulted with members of the United Auto Workers Local 2179 division and voted to unionize just last week.
They now join employees of the Brooklyn Alamo Drafthouse Cinema theater, who voted to unionize back in September.
"We’re very excited to be moving forward in solidarity with Brooklyn. We have strength in our numbers and hope to see some real change," Quick told AP.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has not commented on the unionization of its New York City staff as of publishing.
Barbie grossed over $1.4 billion dollars at the box office and is currently the 11th highest-grossing film in U.S. history, according to Variety.
Grossing nearly $1 billion at the box office, Oppenheimer is currently the third highest-grossing film globally in 2023, according to Collider.
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