How To Work With Unions…Without Yanking Your Hair Out (Pt. 1)

5 tips for working with unions...without yanking your hair out!


If you are like most meeting professionals I’ve worked with, one of the most daunting and stressful aspects of planning an event is working with Unions. Unions have the power to make your event a success or a disaster, yet there are few resources for finding the information you need to make working with Unions as seamless as possible.

While there are many horror stories to working with unions, many times they can be a great asset to your event. The Union employees often have 10 or more years experience and are experts in their fields. I was recently at an event where the video operator had worked at the Grammys, the Billboard Music Awards, and many other major events; he did an exceptional job filming the keynote speaker for this event and the client was thrilled with his work!

You too can make your union experience an exceptional one…

Here is what you need to know:

  • What are the union requirements? These can affect your timing, budget, and planning, make this the first question you ask a venue.
  • You must have an established agreement with the Union before you conduct any work with them. While in-house AV companies will already have this established, you can still use an outside AV company who will work with the in-house vendor to meet your Union needs
  • Your AV Company should act as the liaison between you and the union; work closely with them to understand all Union requirements and approve all labor, rates, and schedules.
  • Normal Business hours are tremendously less expensive than early, late, overtime, or long hours. Plan your event accordingly to save yourself a lot of money and hassle
  • The Union will assign you a Steward; this person can make or break your event, treat them like your best friend to ensure your event goes smoothly

I hope these 5 tips were helpful, and will save you time, money, and stress the next time you are planning an event in a city with Union requirements. Check out next week's posting, with a few more tips and tricks for making your union work for you.