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

There 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 audiovisual company that understands what it means to work with a union house. One who 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 its crew. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that not every job needs to 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 can be confusing, at the very least, which may lead to bad feelings and additional costs. 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 that state are not required to hire union labor. Many choose to do so regardless, especially more extensive operations such as convention centers, concert halls, and some 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 more than one union, 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 one will be some 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 experiences 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 upfront 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 audiovisual preparations and execution will move forward efficiently and positively. It will be an enjoyable experience all around. And venues that find you professional and easy to work with will want your business in the future.