“Labor Cuts Demanded”

Artifact Type Sources, Trade Journals
Publication Motion Picture News
Volume XXXVI
Number 3
Page Number 272
Place New York, NY
Publication Date July 29, 1927
Transcript Show/Hide

Headline: “Labor Cuts Demanded”

Subhead: Exhibitors Contend They Cannot Exist Under Present Scale of Wages

Wage reductions and wage increases for musicians, operators and stage hands are bringing about the usual controversies in different parts of the country, with the situation acute in some quarters. St. Louis and Denver exhibitors are pleading for lower salaries that they may continue to exist. At Memphis an amicable settlement has been reached and a threatened walkout averted.

Musicless movies loom as an almost certainty for the patrons of the neighborhood and outlying theatres of St. Louis and its suburbs unless the powers that be in the Musicians’ Union come to the assistance of the theatre owners by granting some concessions in the way of either reduced wages or fewer members for orchestras.

The present wage contract with the Musicians ‘ Union expires in August and recently in preliminary negotiations the representatives of the smaller theatres of St. Louis requested that they be permitted to drop one man from their orcliestras as a means of holding down the overhead. This suggestion was promptly rejected by the union officials, it is said.

The situation is so acute the theatre owners have practically decided that it is a question of either one man or the entire orchestra going. That is, unless the musicians are willing to reduce their wage scale so that the total reduction for an orchestra will equal the present wage of a musician. The latter course seems very improbable.

Whether the big down-town and Grand Boulevard first-run houses will assist their smaller brethren in their arguments with the musicians is not yet apparent.

The controversy between the Motion Picture Machine Operators and Loew’s theatres in Memphis reached an amicable settlement Monday.

A new two-year contract was signed by Loew representatives and officers of the union under the provisions of which two projectionists will be retained at Loew’s Palace at a salary of $53.50 a week, each, to September 1st, 1927; then, $55.00 for the next two years. The third operator, retained under the Publix policy for the Publix stage presentations which were discontinued June 18, will be dispensed with.

The men had asked for two men at a weekly salary of $75.00, or three men at $65,000; and at the outset they demanded, also, the retention of the third operator. Loew, on the other hand, offered two men $60.00 a week.

The Denver Theatre Managers Association is seeking a 25 per cent reduction of salaries of musicians and has notified the state industrial commission of its intention to make such salary reductions. The Denver Musical Protective Association has also been given the same notice. The managers declare they are ready to open negotiations on a new contract. No change in working conditions is asked. No mention has been made of any intended reduction for other theatre employees.

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Citation “Labor Cuts Demanded,” Motion Picture News, July 29, 1927.
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