ASHLAND, OR – Entertainment workers that make up the show run crew of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) voted 61-0 Monday night in favor of ratifying their first-ever union contract.
The contract is the culmination of 665 days of joining in union among the crew members, who provide all stage operations, wardrobe, hair and wig, lighting, video, and sound services for the festival, which was founded in 1935. Effective June 13, 2016, to November 14, 2019, the contract will provide the crew improved wages, job security with full-time work and a defined disciplinary procedure, protected benefits, increased vacation and sick time, and a labor management committee.
“We work alongside some of the best technicians in the industry, and for one of the best theatres in the country,” said Amanda Sager, OSF Sound Engineer. “Through this process we’ve worked together to create an environment which allows and encourages every employee to do their best work, and every patron to have the best possible experience.”
With the ratification of the contract, the women and men of the OSF show run crew will form the new IATSE Local 154, chosen for the number of William Shakespeare’s collection of sonnets. IATSE Local 154 was the Seattle-based projectionist local from 1908 to 1999, and the local number will be carried on by sisters and brothers that spoke up together to create a better workplace.
The OSF crew were indivisible throughout the entire organizing and negotiating process. The negotiating team for the entertainment workers consisted of representatives from each of the festival’s nine backstage departments: Jack Buckley (Stage Operations); Cara Wade and Courtney Cunningham (Wardrobe); Rosey Johnson and Devon Ash (Hair and Wigs); Maria Chunn and Sarah McKenney (Lighting); and Amanda Sager and Valerie Lawrence (Sound).
“The crew became more unified through the process of negotiating of the contract knowing that it would result in fairness and equity for all,” said IATSE International Representative Christopher “Radar” Bateman.