Monday, May 21, 2012

Local One IATSE to Protest Non-Union Spiegelworld Big-Top Show

Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) will put on its largest demonstration in the theater district since the Great Broadway Strike of 2007 when hundreds of union stage technicians and union supporters take to the line on West 45th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue on Tuesday, May 22, to protest the use of non-union lighting and audio technicians on the non-union tent show, Spiegelworld's "Empire New York."

"Empire New York" begins previews Tuesday, May 22, for an opening May 31. Spiegelworld is pitching its self-described "infamous tent" at 265 West 45th Street. By all reports, the work force is entirely non-union.

"Local One IATSE can't stand by while a non-union entertainment operation pitches its tent, even temporarily, in the heart of the Broadway theater district, the working home of thousands of entertainment professionals," said James J. Claffey, president of the 3000-member, 126-year-old stage local. "Though the number of Local One IATSE jobs we're taking about are no more than a handful of jobs, we will exercise all our legal rights to ensure these employees have union rights and protections."

To that end, Mr. Claffey called out Local One's membership last Friday, May 18, to occupy a line in front 265 West 45th Street tent entrance with a big push planned for Tuesday.

Spiegelworld, according to press reports is "presented in New York by Related Companies and Boston Properties." Both are two of the largest real estate companies in the world who may not be aware of the labor dispute on their doorstep.

Spiegelworld Impresario Ross Mollison, who claims to have created "the greatest show New York has ever known" is about to face, as Mr. Claffey often repeats, the "greatest Local in the land."

Local One IATSE (, James J. Claffey, Jr., President, is the premiere stagecraft union in the world, representing 3,100 stage and studio electricians, set carpenters, sound designers, audio technicians, moving-light operators, riggers and special effects people in Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester and Rockland.

Local One members construct, install, maintain, and operate the lighting and sound equipment, the scenery and special effects which thrill and delight audiences attending Broadway shows; concerts at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall; the magnificent, spectacular productions at The Metropolitan Opera and throughout Lincoln Center; and the many entertainment and news broadcasts from CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX and PBS. Local One technicians work behind the scenes at numerous cable TV studios, major corporate industrials and special events.

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