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Theater Craft Union IATSE Offers to Build or Convert COVID Vaccination Sites

”The skills required to convert these facilities are not much different than those required to load in rock and roll concerts,“ the union’s international president says

IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, is offering to help out President Biden’s administration in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine.

The union of stagehands, riggers and other craftspeople, many of whom are still out of work during the pandemic, is offering up its infrastructure of workers to help build or convert new locations that can be used as COVID-19 vaccination sites.

“The skills required to convert these facilities are not much different than those required to load in rock and roll concerts and other live events,” the union’s international president Matthew D. Loeb wrote in a letter sent to the White House Monday. “Together, we have a unique opportunity not only to help beat this virus and save lives, but also to get these skilled union technicians back to work. Let’s build back better, together.”

IATSE notes that the union has for years worked with the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA across arenas and convention centers in disaster response situations, and in April the union further helped convert numerous facilities into field hospitals as the virus was first spreading.

Local branches have also developed variations on rigs based on venue size and equipment that can be power washed, sanitized, shrink-wrapped, and can be delivered to locations for installation.

While Broadway remains dark, IATSE back in July laid out some of its guidelines for resuming theatrical productions, including paid-sick leave and no-touch ticketing. The union had also publicly endorsed Joe Biden for president ahead of the 2020 election last summer.