Chi union, Cineplex in lockout impasse

Officials from Cineplex Odeon Corp. and Local 110 of the Motion Picture Projectionists & Video Technicians Union met yesterday, but failed to come to an agreement that would have ended the four-day lockout of projectionists at Cineplex’s 49 theaters in Chicago.

As previously reported, Cineplex locked out projectionists after the union rejected the circuit’s offer of $ 65 an hour in the first year, $ 55 in the second and $ 45 in the third.

Under a contract that expired on Aug. 31, Chicago-area projectionists would have received $ 112 an hour (Daily Variety, Nov. 10).

At yesterday’s meeting, Cineplex offered several undisclosed items to the union, which labor leaders reportedly took back to rank and file for consideration. No deadline for response or future meetings were scheduled. Specifics of yesterday’s Cineplex Odeon offer could not be identified.

During the lockout, union members have picketed several Cineplex Odeon sites; the circuit has added security at selected venues.

Cineplex sent the managers of its 49 theaters and 200 screens in the area to run projection booths. The circuit has reported no technical problems in the early days of the lockout, but Chicago film industry sources said the true test will come today, when managers tackle the technically difficult process of respooling new movies.

Cineplex is skedded to debut Columbia’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” at six of its Chicago venues today, including the Burnham Plaza, Biograph and McClurg Court multiplexes.

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