The union that supplied workers for Napa’s BottleRock festival has asked Napa County Superior Court to force festival organizers to begin arbitration over $630,000 in unpaid wages, stating they have acted in “bad faith” for refusing to begin negotiating payment of those wages.
According to court documents, filed Aug. 27, approximately 142 members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union Local 16 worked between April 30 and May 15 for the five-day music festival at the Napa Valley Expo.
When the workers weren’t paid, the union filed a grievance against music festival organizers Bob Vogt and Gabe Meyers of Napa.
On June 14, the union sent letters to Vogt and Meyers asking them to begin arbitration. According to documents, festival organizers “continue to refuse” to begin arbitration.
The original working agreement, which called for supplying workers to the 2013 BottleRock and future festivals through 2017, notes that union workers were to be paid between $34.56 and $44.25 per hour. Both Vogt and Meyers signed the agreement, which was dated April 1.
“The employer has no … basis for refusing to arbitrate,” the court documents state. “Such refusal … is calculated to delay an amicable resolution of a legitimate labor dispute.”
The union is just one of dozens of BottleRock vendors who are still owed money from the music festival. BottleRock’s publicly known debt is over $2.5 million, including hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to transportation companies, security vendors, the city of Napa and the Expo.
While the music festival, held May 8 to 13, was a hit with music lovers, organizers have been beset with financial difficulties, including unpaid invoices and four lawsuits for breach of contract.
As much as $1 million in promised donations to a group of nonprofits remains unpaid.
In early August, Live Nation, the nation’s largest event promoter, ignited hope that it would either acquire or invest in the financially troubled festival. However, no agreement with Live Nation has yet to be announced.
Vogt and Meyers are also engaged in a financial dispute with CP Cooks, the organization that managed the food and beverage operation at the festival.
Vogt and Meyers did not reply to requests for comment Thursday afternoon. Nor did Jim Beaumonte, president of Local 16 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or a spokesperson for Live Nation.
Pre-sale tickets for an announced 2014 BottleRock festival remain on sale on the BottleRock website.