The union representing workers at the Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) today announced that they have reached an agreement to settle a two week old strike and have ratified a first contract with the theater company.
Michael Barnes, the President of IATSE Stagehands Local 8, praised the union members who were on strike as well as other Labor allies and community supporters.
“This was not an easy battle. It took the support of our International Union and the community to get this contract. I would like to thank the AFL- CIO and the affiliates who supported us on the picket line as well as the community members who honored the picket line and provided support through social media and letters to PTC management,” said Barnes. “I would also like to thank our International President Matthew Loeb, who marched with us on the picket line and provided extraordinary assistance throughout the campaign, and I would especially like to thank the Local 8 membership who did went out all out to support a bunch of young stagehands who last year we called our competition but today proudly call our union brothers and sisters.”
IATSE Local 8 members had been on strike at the theater company for two weeks and had been trying to get PTC to agree to a first contract with the newly organized group of workers that reflects already existing conditions of work and includes a minimal wage increase consistent with existing industry standards.
“The newly organized Local 8 at the PTC we not asking for much,” said Barnes. “All they were looking for was job security; maintain existing working conditions, health benefits and a decent wage increase.”
Barnes noted that the new contract for stagehands for the PTC is the first contract Local 8 has settled for a theater of this size. The contract has strong language that protects the jobs, maintains and improves conditions that now include overtime after 8 hours in a day and holidays and double time for overnight work. The contract also contains health and retirement contributions for every worker and increases the wages of the workers each year of the agreement.
“This strike was about economic justice,” said Barnes. “The fight for economic justice is as important today as it was when Martin Luther King stood with those sanitation workers in Memphis 44 years ago. With this settlement there will be no strike this weekend at the PTC. The Rat will be somewhere watching the Super Bowl with the rest of the stagehands. But come Monday we will start building on this agreement by taking our message to the other regional theater workers and unrepresented stagehands in the City.”