Will the Joyce Theater Turn Union? (Update: It does.)

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UPDATE: The New York Times reports that the stagehands of the Joyce Theater voted 12-0 to be represented by Local One. One ballot was voided.

Story continues below.



This was the Clyde Fitch Report’s earlier post:

According to Bruce Cohen, the public relations representative for Local One, the Joyce Theater may by tomorrow be a union house. On Aug. 25 the New York Times reported that “the vast majority of the Joyce’s stagehands had recently signed authorization cards selecting the local to bargain collectively on their behalf.” The vote is set for Mon., Oct. 26, with the results to be made public at noon.

If the Joyce’s stagehands, as expected, do vote to have Local One represent them, how will this affect dance ticket prices? Will it embolden the other crafts unions to look toward other nonunion houses around the city and push for a boosting of their numbers? Will it irk producers and presenters such that the animus between management and unions in the NYC performing arts scene — always high — grows more intense?

Here’s some background, as provided by Cohen:

…In essence, the federally supervised election will decide whether or not the Joyce Theater stagehands will be unionized just six weeks after the petition was filed by Local One with the NLRB for a vote. A simple majority is required.

Local One IATSE filed a petition with the NLRB September 14 after granting Joyce management nearly a month to consider its request for voluntary recognition. Over the summer, a large majority of Joyce stage technicians signed authorization cards empowering Local One IATSE to act as their collective bargaining agent.

If Local One IATSE wins the election, the union expects to sit down with Joyce management and negotiate a contract fair to both Joyce stage technicians and the Joyce Theatre Foundation.

NLRB-supervised balloting is familiar territory for stagehands requesting representation at smaller venues in New York City. Last year, after a long, litigious and costly process, stagehands at Lehman College Center for the Performing Arts voted 22 to 0 to be represented by Local One. Those stagehands now work under a contract fair to both labor and management.

For 123 years, Local One has been the premier stagecraft union of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, representing 3,000 property persons, stage and studio electricians, set carpenters, sound designers, audio technicians, moving-light operators, riggers and special effects people in New York.