Tonight's Philadelphia Orchestra Concert at Carnegie Hall Cancelled Due to Stagehand Strike
Carnegie Hall today announced that its Opening Night performance-scheduled for tonight-Wednesday, October 2-has been cancelled due to a strike by Carnegie Hall's stagehands, represented by IATSE/Local One (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees). The season-opening concert by The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and featuring violinist Joshua Bell and vocalist/double bassist Esperanza Spalding, was scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. All future performances remain on Carnegie Hall's schedule, and daily updates will be issued pending resolution of the strike.
In opting to strike, the stagehands have rejected a proposed new agreement that includes annual wage and benefit increases and continued jurisdiction throughout Carnegie Hall's concert venues. It also provides new additional work opportunities in the renovated upper floors of the building. The strike is an attempt to force Carnegie Hall to agree to the union's demand for jurisdiction over the whole of Carnegie Hall's newly-created Education Wing in ways that would compromise Carnegie Hall's education mission. These new spaces, dedicated to the Hall's expanding music education and community programming, are scheduled to open in fall 2014.
Acceptance of the union's demands 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. Local One also demands that Carnegie Hall displace other union employees currently performing maintenance work in the new Education Wing, insisting that stagehands perform this work which will involve a substantially higher cost.
"Carnegie Hall sincerely regrets any inconvenience this strike will cause our artists, concertgoers, and everyone with whom we work," said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. "We are disappointed that, despite the fact that the stagehands have one of the most lucrative contracts in the industry, they are now seeking to expand their jurisdiction beyond the concert hall and into the new Education Wing in ways that would compromise Carnegie Hall's education mission. 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 position is based on the fact that IATSE/Local One-a theatrical union whose fundamental jurisdiction is tied to performance spaces-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. In addition, Carnegie Hall's previous agreements with its stagehands have never included jurisdiction within the spaces on the building's upper floors, the location of the new Education Wing.
Working toward an equitable solution, Carnegie Hall has offered to extend the union's jurisdiction into the Education Wing in a way that would preserve the operational flexibility needed to create a more informal, hands-on learning environment for activities serving students, young artists, and teachers, while also ensuring a sustainable and meaningful financial approach required to effectively manage these new spaces.
Carnegie Hall has been in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with its stagehands since mid-2012. The stagehands' most recent agreement expired on August 31, 2012. While negotiations were ongoing, both the stagehands and Carnegie Hall had agreed to work under the terms of their previous agreement. In order to avoid any disruption to concertgoers and the public, Carnegie Hall urged the stagehands to extend their current collective bargaining agreement and not strike while discussions continue. In choosing to strike, IATSE/Local One has rejected this proposal.
Carnegie Hall's Opening Night performance by The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and featuring violinist Joshua Bell and vocalist/double bassistEsperanza Spalding, scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, October 2 at 7:00 p.m., in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, has been cancelled. This concert will not be rescheduled. Concertgoers who purchased tickets with a credit card will receive automatic refunds. Those who purchased tickets with cash should call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800.
The scheduled Opening Night Gala dinner, benefiting Carnegie Hall's artistic and education programs, will still take place at the Waldorf Astoria's Grand Ballroom, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Ticketholders can direct all questions to CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800.