Washington State — On Tuesday, IATSE Local 15 ratified area standard addendums to the existing agreement between the union’s International and Tri State Stage Labor, ensuring hundreds of Live Events workers across several iconic Pacific Northwest Venues will be covered by a union contract that provides higher wages, better health and retirement benefits, and safety/certification training. These venues include Angels of the Wind Arena, ShoWare, White River Amphitheater, The Gorge, the Tacoma Dome, Lumen Field (Seahawks), and T-Mobile Park (Seattle Mariners).
The devastating impact of COVID-19 on the Live Events Industry has raised public awareness for the workers behind the scenes. As a result, employers increasingly view investing in Live Events workers as an investment in the sustainability of the industry. IATSE Vice President and Co-Director of Stagecraft Michael Barnes said, “We are seeing a shift of focus by facility managers towards safety and certifications. Our union’s investment in worker training has separated the IATSE from the labor brokers who have been undermining area wage, benefit and safety standards in the live events industry. We are confident the Northwest is the first domino in what we expect to be an industry trend.”
Tri State Stage Labor was awarded the work when Live Nation replaced Rhino Staging as the contractor. For context, Rhino Staging is the same company that the union accused of refusing to even sit down at the bargaining table in 2018, even months after workers in Washington and Oregon voted to form a union and be represented by the IATSE. In addition, the IATSE filled multiple ULP’s with the NLRB during the negations for the failure to bargain and won back wages for wrongfully terminated riggers getting approximately $200,000 in back wages for the workers.
IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said, “It’s remarkable that we were able to get these venues under contract following such a painful time for the industry. Though others have wielded the pandemic as a weapon against workers and their contracts, I am encouraged to see the Pacific Northwest leading the way in creating a more sustainable industry going forward.”
The International agreement with Tri State Stage Labor now covers stagehands in Philadelphia (IATSE Local 8), Lititz, Pa (IATSE Local 501) and now Seattle (IATSE Local 15). Tri State Staging also has direct agreements with IATSE Locals 8, 77 (Southern New Jersey), 632 (Northeast New Jersey), 33 (Los Angeles, CA), 84 (Connecticut) and 887 (Wardrobe, Western Washington).