Ticket takers, ticket sellers and ushers will be there to greet fans at PNC Park this week as the union that represents them has reached a tentative three-year contract agreement with the Pirates that will avert a looming strike.
Representatives from the Pittsburgh Stadium Independent Employees Union and the Pirates met for about four hours Tuesday and were able to reach a preliminary deal despite little movement from either side.
“It’s not everything we hoped for, but we had to be realistic,” said Eric Dorman, president of the PSIEU.
The strike was set to begin Thursday when the Pirates open their next homestand against the Cincinnati Reds. The approximately 225 workers represented by the PSIEU still must ratify the agreement, but the date for that vote has yet to be determined.
The tentative agreement includes retroactive pay for 2022 and lasts until the 2025 season, according to Dorman. He said that the Pirates agreed on Tuesday to give the workers a slight bump in their 2022 retroactive pay, which will provide a nice lump sum of money to employees.
Dorman, though, said union representatives were still unhappy with the salary offer for ushers — a sticking point in the contract talks — who would only make base pay of $13.10 an hour by the end of the agreement.
Ushers will make base pay of $12.40 an hour in 2023 — up from $9.35 an hour — and will be able to collect tips. Also in 2023, ticket sellers will make $19 and ticket takers will make $18.65 per hour.
Dorman also said union representatives begrudgingly accepted the Pirates wage “pool” proposal in which new hires for all three positions represented by the union will make the ushers’ base pay.
But the union did secure an agreement that will allow ushers who are already employed by the team to move up the pay scale if they take a ticket taker or ticket seller job, he said.
Dorman said he hopes that by giving the Pirates some of what they wanted in this contract, the workers will be able to get more when it’s time to bargain again.
Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki confirmed in an emailed statement that the team had reached a tentative agreement with the PSIEU.
“The passion, dedication and teamwork that our employees bring to the ballpark makes a difference to our organization, our players and our fans,” he said. “We look forward to sharing in what is shaping up to be an exciting 2023 season at PNC Park.”