Stagehands Strike Forces Carnegie Hall to Cancel Opening-Night Concert

IATSE workers walk off the job in dispute over whether the union will have jurisdiction over new education wing

Carnegie Hall has canceled Wednesday night’s season-opening concert featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra and superstar violinist Joshua Bell after union stagehands walked off the job at midnight Tuesday.

The announcement came in the wake of a strike called by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local, which is seeking jurisdiction over Carnegie Hall’s newly created 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.”

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All future performances remain on Carnegie Hall’s schedule, and daily updates will be issued pending resolution of the strike, said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s executive and artistic director.

“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,” Gillinson said. “There is no precedent for this anywhere in New York City.”

Bloomberg reported in July that a senior Carnegie Hall stagehand’s annual pay in 2011 was $465,000.