Will Joyce Theater Be Home for Union Stagehands?

News   Will Joyce Theater Be Home for Union Stagehands? Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Sept. 14 requesting an NLRB-supervised election of the Joyce Theater stagehands to certify Local One as their collective bargaining agent.

Local One said in a statement that the Joyce Theater Foundation failed to respond to the local's Aug. 14 request for voluntary recognition, which the local made after a large majority of Joyce stagehands signed authorization cards empowering Local One to act as the stagehands' bargaining agent.

In that Aug. 14 letter, Local One had originally set an Aug. 26 deadline for management "to agree to verify Local One's majority status through a neutral, third party who would review the signed authorization cards."

According to Local One, Joyce management had promised to Local One president James J. Claffey, Jr. that it would respond to the union, but asked for an additional time to formulate a response. Claffey granted that extension.

A month after the union made its initial request, there is still no official response, the union announced.

Voluntary recognition "would have allowed both Local One and the Joyce Theater Foundation to avoid the hefty expenses associated with NLRB election procedures," according to the union. The union expects a hearing before the NLRB before the end of September and an election before Thanksgiving.

Local One is now "entering the costly and time-consuming legal process that will undoubtedly lead to the same result: the Joyce Theater Foundation sitting down to negotiate with Local One for a fair and just contract for its stage technicians," said Claffey.

The Joyce is the Eighth Avenue venue in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. It often presents dance shows.

"NLRB supervised balloting is familiar territory for stagehands requesting representation at smaller venues in New York City," according to Local One. "Last year, after a long, litigious and costly process, stagehands at Lehman College Center for the Performing Arts voted 22 to 0 to be represented by Local One. Those stagehands now work under a contract fair to both labor and management."

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For 123 years, Local One (www.iatselocalone.org) has been the stagecraft union of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees representing 3,000 property persons, stage and studio electricians, set carpenters, sound designers, audio technicians, moving-light operators, riggers and special effects people in New York City.

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