IATSE Weekly Newsletter 5/15/2021

‘We Are the Met’: Opera Unions Rally Against Proposed Pay Cuts

“That’s not the Met Opera,” said James J. Claffey Jr., president of Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents Met stagehands, pointing over to the opera house. “The greatest stage, the largest stage — it’s empty. It’s nothing without the people that are right in front of me right now.”

Masked stagehands, musicians, ticket sellers, wardrobe workers and scenic artists packed the designated rally space, greeting each other with elbow bumps after more than a year of separation. They wore union T-shirts and carried signs with messages like, “We Paint the Met” and “We Dress the Met.” The same chant — “We are the Met!” — was repeated over and over throughout the rally. The protest made clear the significant labor challenges that the Met must overcome to successfully return in the fall. Read more 

Benched stage workers demand their jobs back outside Moda Center

For two decades, Local 28 stagehands worked Trailblazers games. After weathering the pandemic many expected to return. However, Rip City Management wants to eliminate their jobs and replace them with a non-union workforce. “Imagine you are an entertainment industry worker and all of your work was shut down in March 2020 due to a pandemic,” said Rose Etta Venetucci, business representative of IATSE, Local 28 “You struggled getting your unemployment and got lost in the backlog … Fast forward to May 7th, 2021. Fans are now allowed back in the arena, but you’re still not bringing back their loyal crew?  Read more ➔

U.S. Labor Secretary Says Gig-Worker Mislabeling Is Major Issue

Marty Walsh

The misclassification of employment as “gig work” is a major economic issue that the U.S. Labor Department is working to address, according to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

“Misclassified employees often are denied access to critical benefits and protections like overtime, minimum wage, paid leave, unemployment insurance,” Walsh said at an online business-journalism conference Monday, calling it one of the “most serious issues” in the jobs market. “It undermines our economy. We have some work to do in this space.”

Identifying the policy levers generating wage suppression and wage inequality | Economic Policy Institute

Economic Policy Institute | LinkedIn
Inequalities abound in the U.S. economy, and a central driver in recent decades is the widening gap between the hourly compensation of a typical (median) worker and productivity—the income generated per hour of work. This growing divergence has been driven by two other widening gaps, that between the compensation received by the vast majority of workers and those at the top, and that between labor’s share of income and capital’s. 

This paper presents evidence that the divorce between the growth of median compensation and productivity, the inequality of compensation, and the erosion of labor’s share of income has been generated primarily through intentional policy decisions designed to suppress typical workers’ wage growth, the failure to improve and update existing policies, and the failure to thwart new corporate practices and structures aimed at wage suppression. Read more ➔

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The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees or IATSE (full name: International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada), is a labor union representing over 150,000 technicians, artisans and craftspersons in the entertainment industry, including live theatre, motion picture and television production, broadcast, and trade shows in the United States and Canada.

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