Support the Local One Stagehands Picketers

There's a different strike going on in New York City. The stagehands have walked off and shut down Broadway. If you're in the big apple, go tell a picketer to stay strong. And tell them UnitedHollywood sent you. We're all on the same page. The WGAe and WGAw have issued the following statement:

November 10, 2007

Mr. James J. Claffey, Jr.


IATSE Local One

320 West 46 Street

New York, NY 10036

To Our Brothers and Sisters of IATSE Local One:

This letter is to express our heartfelt and vocal support of IATSE Local One’s strike against the League of American Theatres and Producers. Just as you have stood with us in our current strike against the motion picture and television studios and networks, so, too, do we stand with you as you seek the fair and respectful contract that you have earned and deserve.

The careers of many of our members began and continue in the theater. We recognize the stage as an arena of inspiration, a training ground, an artistic platform from which our visions leap to life. Without your members, the work of our members could not be realized. All of their
imagination and creativity come to nothing without you.

Know that IATSE Local One can rely on us to work with you and join you as your and our struggles continue. Contact us for whatever assistance you require. We’re all in this together.

In solidarity,

Michael Winship
Patric M. Verrone


Frank Uslan Charlie Kartler said...

I guess strike season is in full swing this year.

Anonymous said...

Big difference is they can't seem to spin the media. Everything I have seen indicates they shut down Broadway because some in the union want to continue getting paid for doing NO work at all while you all toil away deserving money for work you ACTUALLY do.

Katie said...

Yeah, I haven't seen any information as to what they're striking ABOUT, which pisses me off. The NY Times article talked all about the economic impact without giving any information as to what the stagehands are fighting for, which seems really unfair to me.

Fight on, stagehands!

Sean said...

What the Broadway producers wanted to do essentially, is cut back staffing on the opening of shows, arguing that some hands are "idle" during the run up. It's an argument used often in factory settings, when management argues that it would rather make a worker do the work of two people than have the possibility of having an additional worker to help out who may not be productive a 100% of the time.

Reducing staffing would increase the burden on those left, increasing the likelihood of mistakes, injuries, and other such mishaps. Why? Because the producers didn't want to hire an extra couple people to help out.

Katie said...

Real genius there. Christ, people are unbelievable. Thanks for the info, Sean!

David Grenier said...

Also, United American Nurses members are on strike at hospitals in West Virginia and Kentucky over very similar issues. Rather than hire enough nurses to do the work, Appalachian Health Care just piles tons of mandatory overtime on the current staff which greatly increases the likelihood of fatigue-induced mistakes and injuries.

More info here: http://blog.aflcio.org/2007/10/12/nurses-strike-appalachian-hospitals-for-better-patient-care

Anonymous said...

Support organized labor! I support the WGA 100%. Thanks for supporting IATSE. I'd like to see someone find an idle stagehand during a tech or, more importantly, when something goes wrong (this is live theatre baby.) While we're at it, nurses work harder than anyone so support those folks in West Virginia too!

Anonymous said...

Actually, sean doesn't quite have the correct information. During the initial load in period, you hire a certain number of people for each division. All are called to work every day, regardless of what is actually happening. If it is a day when you are working only on electrics and you need more people, you hire more electrics people for the day and still have to pay the carpetry people who are in your initial hire, even when they don't actually work. The producers want to have the option to not call certain groups on certain days when they wouldn't actually work - but also pay them a 16% increase when they actually do work. It isn't a job cut overall, just a cut in the number of hours. Fact is most broadway stage hands make more than the broadway actors - average salary and benefits are $115,000 a year.

Now, before people say I don't support unions, I do. I'm in a union myself. I just like to have all the facts. I can see where both sides are coming from - I just hope they can talk to each other.

Anonymous said...

The post by the 10:53AM poster who supports unions speaks volumes as to why the union has lost the support of the general NYC public (of which I am a member).

Management has very clearly articulated, on their web site, what they give as "facts":

1. Stagehand specialists are required to show up and be paid whether or not the job they were fulfilling at the opening is completed and whether or not their specialty is needed for that month. To the public, this seems like the union is mandating waste.

2. Management indicates that they are willing to appear at the negotiating table and the union is unwilling to show up. To the public, this seems like the union is not good faith negotiating.

Whether or not these "facts" are true can not be determined by the public because the union is completely silent; it has no web site where it makes its case to the public, almost as if it doesn't have to answer to the public.

Meanwhile the NYC public is going to go ballistic soon, with such a huge NYC attraction being completely shut down so near the holidays.

I'd advise the union to put more effort into swaying public opinion.

Anonymous said...

First of all, all stagehands do not make $150,000 plus a year. No way!!! If you are a boss, a head postion at the theatre...sure. Let's see, how many broadway theatres are in NYC? And how many members are in IATSI Local One, Want to know the facts about these fools, I mean "Producers", and what they are demanding? Well, go to IATSE, Local One's website. Google to find it.
And if anyone thinks that stagehands don't earn every single penny they get paid...just come down to the metropolitan opera house at any time, Monday thru Saturday! I bet your next step will be stopping by one of the many stagehand picketing zones to shake their cold, rough hands. Maybe even buy them some hot coffee. Educate yourself, or put your foot in your mouth.

Anonymous said...

I have been hearing different stories about stagehands etc. If a stage hand is sitting idle and is asked to mop the stage, it needs to be in his work contract, if not he can't do it, and if he does he needs to be paid a penalty or loading on top of their wage ??? Is this true ???