Updated: Jul 20, 2022
Whether or not one needs to hire a union crew depends on many factors. Sometimes the event planning committee might need to hire a union crew, especially when planning a large-scale event. In other situations, the venue you have settled for might have a policy that you only hire workers who are members of a union. Hiring a union crew has advantages and drawbacks that you must weigh before settling for that option.
When discussing hiring a union crew, it's imperative to understand what a Union Venue is. A union venue has a policy of only hiring union crew members when you require audiovisual equipment. When hiring a Union crew, be prepared for additional regulations presented by the venue owners. Sometimes, union venues might allow you to bring in your AV company, but you should work per the union rules.
It is important to note that you do not necessarily need to use a union crew at your events; not all venues require you to have a union crew. It all comes down to what you want and how you are willing to plan your event.
Consider some factors if you intend to use a union venue or union crew.
1. Crew cost
Hiring a union crew is much more costly than a non-union crew or workers provided by the venue. The union might need to be involved if you hire an AV company to work at your event. The union may use their people to supervise the members of the AV company you have hired. You will need to pay for the union members doing that job and the AV crew you have just hired from outside. Therefore, before working with a union crew, cross-check your budget to see if there is any room for adjustments and extra bills to fully prepare for what awaits you with the union crew team.
2. Rules and regulations
Knowing where they stand and if you are comfortable working with the conditions they have laid out for your team is essential. Sometimes venue representatives allow adjustments. However, always ask plenty of questions as there are very few cases where a union will bend the rules or negotiate them with you. Some of their regulations include.
• Rest breaks
When using a union crew, you need to be aware of what time they take rest breaks and the duration they are on a break, then incorporate the time in your schedule to avoid any collisions that may arise due to not communicating clearly.
• Meal breaks
Union workers will take time to eat and refuel. They work continuously but with meal breaks and rest breaks in between. The excellent idea is to provide snacks and catering for the crew to save them time.
If you choose to use a union crew, you should know that overtime is a factor they take seriously. Be ready to adjust your budget if you know that your event will run up to the next day for more than the usual 7 to 8 hours or during the weekends. Unions follow common crew laws that require you to pay for any overtime, added hours, or double time for their union crew.
3. Right-to-work states
If you are in a right-to-work state, you are not required to hire union members. However, you may still end up hiring union members because the name of producing events is hiring the best and most qualified, and in those cases, the best and most qualified could be to hire a union crew. Those in right-to-work states often chose to go with union crew when producing large-scale events like conventions, concerts, and festivals.
To ensure a flawless event, hire a team that will deliver excellence and makes your event legendary. Include the AV company you want to hire before signing any contracts that might bind you. Over-communicating is your best bet if you wish to employ a union crew.