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Local Chapter Of IATSE Strikes, Kimmel, Academy, Merriam Shows Canceled

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(File photo)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – No deal was reached after the contract expired at midnight between the Kimmel Center and the local chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Workers are striking and a Kimmel Center spokesperson says all of Saturday’s shows are canceled at the Kimmel Center, Merriam Theatre and the Academy of Music(see related story).

The union represents about a thousand stagehands, ushers, wardrobe workers and box office staff.

Michael Barnes, Business Agent with IATSE local 8 stagehands of Philadelphia says he’s hopeful both sides will be able to agree on a contract

“We’d like to see wage increases, them address our benefits, some of the contract conditions that we’ve put forth and our proposal to address (equality) with the women, represented minorities and gay and lesbian community that we represent.”

But even though there are talks, Barnes says its unclear how long the strike will last.

“I’m not confident of when this will end so we’re going to more forward to bring it to a close but no, I don’t know when it’s going to end.”

Canceled shows for Oct. 1:

All ticket holders will receive refunds as detailed below.

Audra McDonald, Verizon Hall, 8pm *rescheduled for Nov. 30 at 8pm!

Angela Barrows-Dunlap’s Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boyz, Merriam Theater, 3pm and 8pm

The Big Bang, Innovation Studio, 5pm and 8pm

Kimmel Center administrative offices remain open, including the Box Office located within the Kimmel Center.

KIMMEL CENTER STATEMENT ON STRIKE

Kimmel Center President and CEO Anne Ewers issued the following statement:

“We are disappointed that our workers represented by IATSE, Local 8 have chosen to strike.”

“We are Philadelphia’s gateway to the performing arts to Philadelphia, and our employees are essential to our fulfillment of that civic mission. We hold it as a fundamental goal to treat them fairly. But these negotiations are not being conducted in a vacuum. This contract expiration comes at a grave hour in Philadelphia’s performing arts community. The bankruptcy of the Philadelphia Orchestra illustrates that fact wrenchingly. The POA bankruptcy has had profound effects on the Kimmel Center already – we are owed $1.4 million by the Orchestra, with future rent payments uncertain. But the POA is only one of our performing arts stakeholders. All of our Resident Companies face considerable financial stress. And all of our futures hinge on the decisions we, together, make today.

“The Kimmel Center has been making those difficult decisions already. We have reduced program offerings. And we have cut staff positions and salaries resulting in an annual reduction of more than $1 million. All our management employees have made great sacrifices, foregoing salary increases and pensions contributions.

“Make no mistake, a strike makes the financial pressures worse. Performances, for the time being at least, must be canceled. This makes the revenue challenges we all face even more difficult. And it hurts the people most important to our collective futures — the patrons who attend our shows.”

“This negotiation cannot simply be about what a union wants. It is about what the performing arts community can bear at a difficult time. We will be fair, but we cannot “buy peace” by agreeing to terms that ignore the issues of the day or the context of our times. We cannot agree to terms that will imperil our ability to fulfill our civic mission: to bring the incredible power of the performing arts to the Greater Philadelphia community.

“We will continue to negotiate — in good faith. But with an unflinching focus on the realities of the day, we continue to hope that the indisputable nature of those realities will enable reason to prevail.”

Reported By Hadas Kuznits, Mike Dougherty, KYW Newsradio

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