NYC Stagehands Vote to Join Local 1

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Joyce Theater stagehands voted 12 to 1 to join Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) Tuesday.

I.A.T.S.E. Local 1 represents stagehands at high-end Broadway venues including Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center.

If the Joyce Theater workers become part of Local 1, they stand to gain higher pay, Bloomberg reports.

“I’m concerned that some dance companies won’t be able to afford us anymore,” Linda Shelton, the Joyce Theater's executive director told Bloomberg, of the higher costs Joyce would pass onto dance companies to pay stagehands more.

The theaters at many Broadway shows have been less-than-full during the economic downturn. Shelton told Bloomberg Joyce ended the last fiscal year in August with a deficit of $264,000.

Some Local 1 members earn more than $400,000 annually. The New York Times reports the Local 1 average stagehand annual salary and benefits package at Avery Fisher and Alice Tully halls is $290,000.

“Musicians should be so lucky to have a strong union like that,” Kelly Hall-Tompkins, a violinist who played a recital at Carnegie's Weill Music Institute this month, told The Times. Famous musicians can earn up to $60,000 per performance, but the majority earn less.

Local 1 went on strike in 2007, putting Broadway performances on hold for 19 days, according to The Times.

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