Union or Non-Union Venue: What to Know Before Hiring Event Pros

Posted by Jon Young on Jun 5, 2018 10:11:35 AM

Union LaborThere may come a time when you plan a large-scale event at a venue that requires union labor. In this instance, it's crucial that you work with an audio visual company that understands what it means to work with a union house and knows how to provide the services you need while making sure union members also get what they need. Here are some tips to ensure all runs smoothly in situations like this.

Union, Non-Union, What Does it Matter?

A union house is a venue that hires only workers who are members of a labor union, at least for certain services such as AV production. Your AV company will have to follow suit to work with this venue and their crew. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that not every job must be handled by a union member.

It is critical that you understand your venue’s rules and your contractual obligations regarding labor. Failure to comply will cause confusion at the very least, more likely bad feelings and additional cost. No one wants that. So, if your event includes exhibitors, make sure they are fully informed about labor-related rules, too.

Don’t Assume

Just because your event is happening in a “right to work” state, doesn’t automatically mean that unions won’t come into play. That designation only means that employers in the state are not required to hire union labor. Many choose to do so anyway, especially larger operations such as convention centers, concert halls, and hotels. You’ll have to ask.

Also, if your event involves multiple venues in different cities or states, the situation may be different from one to the next. For that matter, you may be dealing with multiple unions, too. The most common are IATSE and Teamsters, but you may find yourself working with electrical or other craft unions. Your production plan will have to account for all these differences.

Choose an AV Partner Who Works Well With Others

Helping to determine who will do what is one of the most vital services your AV partner will perform because the way things get done directly affects the results your attendees see. It also affects your budget.

You need an AV company that has both solid experience working with unions and a reputation for building good working relationships with them. And you’ll want to involve them in your planning discussions right from the start. That way, they provide guidance and most effectively represent your interests with the venue’s union team. Striking the best balance up front helps to avoid problems or misunderstandings later on that could wind up costing you money and headaches.

Union house or not, when everyone is on the same page, your event’s audio visual preparations and execution will move forward efficiently and positively. It will be a good experience all around. And venues that find you professional and easy to work with will want your business in the future.

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Topics: Event Planning