Carnegie Hall Cancels Oct. 2 Opening Gala After Stagehands Strike
By Adam Hetrick
The Oct. 2 season-opening-night performance at Carnegie Hall, which was to feature the Philadelphia Orchestra, violinist Joshua Bell and Esperanza Spalding, has been canceled due to a strike by members of IATSE/Local One, the union that represents stagehands working on Broadway and at major arts venues across New York City.
The season-opening concert was scheduled to begin at 7 PM in the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. The concert will not be rescheduled; concertgoers who purchased tickets with a credit card will receive automatic refunds. Other ticketholders should phone (212) 247-7800 for refund information.
Carnegie Hall states that IATSE is seeking jurisdiction over the entirety of the venue's new education wing, which would "compromise Carnegie Hall's education mission." The new spaces, which will house Carnegie Hall's expanding music education and community program, will open in fall 2014.
According to a statement from Carnegie Hall artistic director Clive Gillinson, "There is no precedent for this anywhere in New York City. In addition, the activities in the education spaces, including education and community programs offered to the public for free or low cost, have nothing to do with the performance-related work they do in the concert halls. We remain strongly committed to reaching a fair agreement that continues to recognize the value they bring to Carnegie Hall and that also enables us to effectively and sustainably deliver on our education and community mission."
Carnegie Hall's leadership added that the union "has no collective bargaining agreements governing education spaces in any New York-area music conservatories, universities with music education programs, or other local facilities supporting education work."
The Union countered in the following statememt: "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."
Carnegie Hall has been in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with its stagehands since mid-2012. The stagehands’ most recent agreement expired Aug. 31, 2012.
Carnegie Hall states that all future performances remain on schedule, and audiences will be updated daily regarding the resolution of the strike.
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