A day after layoffs at Outfest and the announcement of a new acting executive director, the LGBTQ film festival shared that it has “enthusiastically voted” in favor of unionizing with Queer Filmworkers United during a special session.
“I am proud to report that Outfest’s Board of Directors has enthusiastically voted today to recognize Queer Filmworkers United as a union representing our staff. Several Board members and I are proud union members,” said acting executive director Zackery Alexander Stephens in a statement shared with TheWrap.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles-based fest denied reports that the layoffs of five staffers was because they were seeking to unionize.
“This organization would not be possible without the support of labor unions. This recognition is a powerful promise to continue to support and uplift Outfest staff members and those who will join the organization well into the future,” Stephens’ statement continued.
“Our board and our organization are pro-union and we are excited to be supporting our staff’s right to unionize. We look forward to welcoming them to the bargaining table so we can continue to advance Outfest’s mission to amplify LGBTQIA+ storytellers,” said Outfest board co-president Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey. He also thanked the staff for their “patience” to wait for the board’s vote.
A rep for the fest said of the 40-year-old organization is “experiencing financial hardship” and is “working to rebuild the organization in a more sustainable way.” Those actions include temporary reductions to programs, administration and staff.
The organization’s largest fundraiser, the Legacy Awards, will take place as planned on Oct. 22.