A stagehand strike has forced Carnegie Hall to cancel tonight’s opening night concert, featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra and violinist Joshua Bell.
Stagehands represented by Local One of the Int. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees have gone on strike due to a dispute on jurisdiction over Carnegie Hall’s new education wing.
“Local One has unfortunately been left with no choice but to exercise its legal rights at Carnegie Hall after 13 months of bargaining,” Local One President James Claffey said in a statement. “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.”
Carnegie Hall Corp. said the concert would not be re-scheduled, adding that it was disappointed by the work stoppage since the new spaces will not open until next year.
“We’re committed to resolving this issue and reaching an equitable agreement as quickly as possible, as we continue to transform our building to better meet our expanding public service mission,” the corporation said . “As these new spaces will not open until fall 2014, we urged the stagehands to continue our conversation. We’re therefore disappointed that they nonetheless chose to strike at this time.”
Caffey said the union had been “very respectful and honorable” throughout the entire bargaining process.
“Carnegie Hall Corporation continued for 13 months to fail 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,” he added.