Carnegie Hall’s opening night canceled due to stagehands strike

Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 11:50 am
Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Yannick Nézet-Séguin


Tonight’s season-opening Carnegie Hall concert, featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joshua Bell, and Esperanza Spalding has been canceled due to a labor dispute.

IATSE/Local One, which represents the hall’s stagehands, has rejected a proposal that would include wage and benefit increases and additional work opportunities in the recently renovated upper floors of the building.

According to a statement released by Carnegie Hall, the union demanded jurisdiction over all of the new Education Wing, which the hall insists would “not only restrict education work within the new spaces, it would divert significant funds away from the Hall’s music education programs and into stagehand fees.”

Though the concert has been canceled, the associated benefit dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel will continue as planned. The Philadelphia Orchestra will present a free concert tonight at the Kimmel Center, their regular home.

Later today the union released a statement that “Local One has unfortunately been left with no choice but to exercise its legal rights at Carnegie Hall after 13 months of bargaining. Carnegie Hall Corporation has spent or will spend $230 million on its ongoing studio tower renovation, but they have chosen not to appropriately employ our members as we are similarly employed throughout the rest of Carnegie Hall.”

The statement added that Carnegie management failed to acknowledge “the traditional and historic work that we perform and after no significant progress, we found it absolutely necessary to take action to protect the members that we represent.”

The union also disputed the Hall’s contention that it had proposed eliminating non-union employees. “Local One has never proposed the elimination of any current Carnegie Hall employees, whether Union represented or otherwise and we remain willing and always available to bargain for a successful resolve.”

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