Local One Union May Picket Tony Awards Red Carpet

News   Local One Union May Picket Tony Awards Red Carpet
Local One, the stagehand union of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, is threatening to picket the Red Carpet at the June 12 Tony Awards for its use of non-union employees, according to Variety.

Because the Tony ceremony is being held at the Beacon Theatre, a much smaller venues than Radio City Music Hall, which has hosted the annual event for several years, the Red Carpet is being positioned across the street from the Beacon. Because of its location, the producers of the 65th Annual Tony Awards are not required to employ union labor as they are for most of the Tony show.

The use of an outside crew to work the Red Carpet also stems from the fact that the Beacon Theatre seats roughly half the audience Radio City Music Hall can hold. Loss of revenue from those ticket sales meant Tony Awards Productions had less funds to work with to staff the event.

Alan Williams of Tony Awards Productions said in a statement, "The Tony Awards are working together with the Local One Union on the entirety of the Tony Awards telecast and the surrounding operations of the event on Sunday. When the decision was made for the location of the carpet, the Tony Awards wanted and tried to work out a labor contract with Local One -- unfortunately, neither party could reach an agreement. As a result of the budget, an outside crew had to be assembled."

Local One president James J. Claffey Jr. told Variety, "We're going to exercise our legal right to demonstrate." Claffey also intends to set up the union's mammoth inflatable rat and hopes to have nearly 400 union members picketing the Red Carpet. Should that happen members of Actors' Equity could decide to skip the Red Carpet in solidarity.

Claffey also told the New York Times, "We all want the Tonys to be a great night, a great success. This is an unnecessary change of behavior by Tony Award Productions. I’d be very surprised to see Tony-nominated actors walking a nonunion red carpet as 400 of our members are walking a line nearby."

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