KALAMAZOO, MI– Employees of Miller Auditorium on the campus of Western Michigan University here, have voted in favor of representation by IATSE, Local 26.
The vote will affect 60-80 full and part-time employees, who work in the crafts represented by the Grand Rapids-based Local, including stagehands, wardrobe, hair and make-up, and film-video designations. It is expected that at least half a dozen new members will join once the contract is ratified. According to Local 26 Business Agent Stasia Savage, dates for contract negotiations will be announced shortly, with a goal of having a ratified agreement by August for the start of the 2008-2009 season at Miller, which runs from October through May.
Miller Auditorium, which opened in 1968, has been ranked as one of the top ten theatrical venues in the United States, and is the third largest theatre in Michigan. The venue presents road productions of Broadway shows, popular and classical concerts, dance, opera, and seminars, as well as university-originated productions. The Kalamazoo Symphony also performs there.
Since 1894, IA Local 26, West Michigan Stagehands, have served the entertainment industry, representing film and video technicians, and artisans, stagehands, and other technical entertainment employees. Local 26 has 105 members and employs hundreds of stagehands throughout Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Holland, and St. Joseph.
In order to accommodate its growing membership, Local 26 recently purchased its own office building, located at 931 Bridge St. NW, in Grand Rapids. The 2300 sq. ft. building includes offices, meeting and conference rooms.