First Avenue recognizes employee union

More than 200 employees across First Avenue’s affiliated venues have successfully formed a union.

On Friday, a coalition of service and event staff members called on First Avenue Productions to recognize their efforts to organize with Unite Here Local 17, which represents Minnesota hospitality workers.

The company did just that.

“When bartenders, service, and event staff expressed their desire to form a union, there was only one answer, which is why we will voluntarily recognize the union, and are committed to bargaining in good faith,” Dayna Frank, president and CEO of First Avenue Productions, said in a statement.

Staff say they want a union contract for better pay, more training and consistent scheduling.

In a news release, First Avenue staff claimed the venues and roles they work change from shift to shift and schedules are not released in a timely manner.

“We want the clubs to stay the best for years to come, and I think that giving us a real voice is the best way to do that,” said Pauli Demaris, who has worked at First Avenue for more than 18 years.

First Avenue operates the historic venue in downtown Minneapolis, along with the 7th Street Entry, Turf Club, Palace Theater, Fine Line Music Cafe and the Fitzgerald Theater.