Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stagehand Strike

Some of you may be aware that Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees went on strike yesterday, effectively shutting down Broadway. I have been trying to find out the details of why the strike was called, but the union is being very tight-lipped about their grievances. The producers are saying that the have been trying to eliminate outdated hiring practices, such as minimum crew numbers and draconian break requirements, and on the surface are sounding like the reasonable parties. Go here for a more in depth telling of the producer's side of the story. I'll let y'all know if I find out anything more.


C.L. Jahn said...

The MAJOR sticking point is calculating crew size. IATSE doesn't use the amount of work that needs doing; they use an arcane formula that includes the size of the cast and orchestra.
When Richard Aiken was trying to do star shows at the Royal Poinciana we ran into this: for a show with a comedian working in front of a curtain in one followspot, the union dictated a crew of five, not including sound and light board op.
- There was only the comic onstage.
- he entered through the curtain (it never openend)
- there were no props or scenery

Producers don't want to have to pay for stagehands that aren't actually doing anything. With the quality of automation, effects and scene changes can happen with smaller crews; IATSE is dedicated to preventing jobs from being lost to this trend.

It's like the auto industry in the 70s. The tides of change are upon us, and the union is trying to fight the rising tide.

Anonymous said...

All I know is they better get this worked out before March 23, 'cos I'm going to NYC to see Clay on Broadway! They better not screw with me!