PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Some employees at Portland’s Living Room Theaters say they are set to strike on Jan. 10 over claims of unfair labor practice, which were filed with the National Labor Relations Board on Jan. 5.
Living Room Theaters employee Audra Sweetland told KOIN 6 News that the strike was prompted by a series of alleged disagreements between the theater and its employees, stemming from the firing of an employee on New Year’s Eve.
“Basically, a coworker was fired without provocation and without warning for activities outside the scope of work,” Sweetland said. “It was very much a surprise to everybody.”
Following the firing, Sweetland says she held a knowingly recorded conversation with a member of the business’s management. During the conversation, the 20-year-old Portland native said that she was told not to discuss the firing of her coworker or any other work-related grievances regarding Living Room Theaters with fellow employees or outside of work. These orders, she said, violated national labor laws. A recording of the conversation was subsequently sent to the National Labor Relations Board for review, and employees have been on strike ever since.
The business’s employees attempted to resolve the issues with management by requesting a meeting on Jan. 6, Sweetland told KOIN 6 News in an interview. However, Sweetland said that employers refused to respond to the request or recognize the employees as a formal group outside of their general employment duties.
Sweetland would not say if Living Room Theaters employees are attempting to unionize. However, she said that employees are working with a team of people, including union representatives and labor organizations to work through the dispute.
KOIN 6 reached out to Living Room Theaters for a response to the ongoing strike. The business said that it is not commenting on the issue at this time, but that a statement may be released in the coming days.
Tuesday’s protest is scheduled to occur outside the theater, located at the intersection of 10th Avenue and Harvey Milk Street in Southwest Portland, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to a press release sent out over the weekend. Sweetland said that seven of the business’s nine non-management employees and several representatives from local labor organizations are expected to participate in the protest.
“It seems that they did not take us seriously and thought if they ignored the problem that it would go away,” Sweetland said. “That is not an option.”