Service workers at historic Lambeau Field voted overwhelmingly to form a union on Sunday, but they still have to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.
The workers are employed by Delaware North, the Green Bay Packers’ food service provider. While many game-day positions at Lambeau are staffed by volunteers, Delaware North employs around 70 vendors who sell beverages in the concourses.
Over 80 percent of the vendors who voted in the National Labor Relations Board-supervised election were in favor of unionizing, according to Peter Rickman, president of the Milwaukee Area Service & Hospitality Workers Union, or MASH.
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“This victory was an overwhelming validation of the strength and unity that vendors have built, a showing of solidarity that when working people stick together, we can fight and win,” Rickman said.
The Green Bay workers will join MASH, which represents workers at the Fiserv Forum and the Deer District in Milwaukee, Rickman said. The union also represents workers at six venues operated by the Pabst Theater Group, including Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater, Turner Hall, The Fitzgerald, The Back Room at Colectivo and Miller High Life Theatre.
In statements Monday, the Packers and Delaware North both acknowledged the results of the National Labor Relations Board-supervised election.
“We look forward to Delaware North and the union and its team members ratifying a collective bargaining agreement and continuing to provide the excellent service our fans enjoy at Lambeau Field,” a team spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Delaware North echoed those sentiments, saying the company will negotiate “in good faith” with the union in hopes of achieving a “timely ratification” on a first contract.
Rickman said the workers’ next step is to choose a bargaining committee made up of Green Bay workers. The committee will establish the beer vendors’ priorities in negotiations with the company.
“Delaware North has had a history of working well with unions, and we sincerely hope that they come to the table with northeastern Wisconsin workers here the same way that they have with vendors and other food and beverage workers around the country,” he said. “There’s no reason that (the) Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field vendors can’t have an industry-leading contract.”
In October, Rickman told WPR one of the major concerns among the workers was their commission rate, or their cut of sales made. He said those rates had been “slashed” in the last couple of years.
Rickman said Monday that he expects commission rates will be a top issue when the bargaining committee and company reach a tentative agreement.
“We know that too often companies have been pushing out the beer vendors in NFL stadiums, basketball arenas or baseball stadiums around the country,” he said. “We’ll be working to deliver job protections here in this contract, and we’ll also be taking up some of the bread and butter things that should exist in every workplace.”
Rickman, a Fox Valley native, said he hopes the beer vendors’ vote to unionize inspires others in the Green Bay area to take similar steps to organize ahead of the 2025 NFL Draft at and around Lambeau Field.
He said MASH has already heard from some workers around the Titletown District who are interested in unionizing.
“We’ll be working to push the Packers organization and others to look at what the Milwaukee Bucks have done with the Deer District in downtown Milwaukee,” Rickman said. “What’s been good for the Deer District ought to be good for the Titletown District with this high profile NFL draft coming, when all eyes will be on Green Bay.”
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