Shutdown: Park City cinema workers on strike
PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The lights are on, but no one is home, so to speak.
Due to a labor strike between employees of Redstone 8 theaters and the theater’s parent company, the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Theaters Corporation, those hoping to see the building, which is being used to screen the Sundance Film Festival selections in non-pandemic years, will have to deal with besieged personnel.
According to Zinnia Kenny, who is leading the strike effort, the theater currently offers a limited lineup of sessions with just three employees.
“To my knowledge, there have been significant slowdowns and queues in the theater,” says Kenny, a casual theater employee since 2016 at ABC4.com.
Normally staffed with 13 employees, the theater and its California business leaders have received a request for a wage increase from $ 10.50 an hour to $ 15 an hour. Kenny says she and her disgruntled colleagues received a $ 12.50 counter-offer from Metropolitan, which was rejected, and negotiations have since stalled.
The strike has been going on since last Wednesday.
“We value our people and regularly review compensation and make adjustments. These adjustments are made to ensure we remain competitive. Current salaries are consistent with the local market, ”a spokesperson for Metropolitan Theaters said in a statement to ABC4.com.
While the current wage at Redstone 8 is higher than the state minimum wage of $ 7.25, which is the same federal minimum in 15 other states and territories (29 states and territories have a higher wage), Kenny estimates that the rate is still low for employees who work and live in Park City, a town famous for its opulent resorts, outdoor recreation areas, and world-class skiing.
“There are a lot of entry-level jobs in Park City, even immediately next to the theater, that pay even more than $ 15 an hour, often up to $ 17, $ 18, $ 20. time. We are in a city where the cost of living is higher than Los Angeles.
According to BestPlaces.net Cost of Living Calculator, she’s right. The website’s overall index, which assigns a score of 100 to the American average, the City of Angels in Southern California has a score of 176.2 Park City comes in at 186.6, 5.9% higher. The real gap comes in the price of housing. LA’s housing score is rated at 298.2, while Park City’s is a whopping 343.3.
Even though she chooses to forgo a paycheck for now to work on the Labor strike efforts, which have included a few days of picketing outside the theater, Kenny feels the leverage is tilting in the direction of his group. .
“The stakes are much higher for them than for us,” she said. “If this strike doesn’t work for the employees, we can all immediately find better paying jobs. Due to the COVID pandemic, there are a number of companies hiring for far more than what we get paid in the theater. “
As to why she and her coworkers don’t just take one of those higher paying jobs, Kenny explains that to her and her coworkers, the cinema is more than just a workplace with padded seats, spotlights and popcorn. They care about Redstone 8 and the customers they serve there.
“We could just go, but we care too much about this place to ignore it like businesses have been content to do for all these years,” Kenny says.
The strikers staged a few physical picket protests outside the Market Street building, but for the most part they tried to draw attention to their cause online. Most of the online community has insisted on Kenny’s team, those who are less active on the internet just want to come back to the movies.
“The comments on the Internet have been extremely encouraging,” Kenny says. “Almost anyone under 40 understands that this is important to Park City’s identity, but our seniors just want to see the shows and they’re a little frustrated that they can’t do it right now.”