Carnegie Hall Cancels Opening Night Concert After Union Strike

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Stagehands picket Carnegie Hall on Wednesday morning Stagehands picket Carnegie Hall on Wednesday morning (Brian Wise/WQXR)

There will be no opening night concert at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday. The organization has canceled its season-opening performance after a strike by the local stagehands union.


some of them make more tan 400-thousand a year....some more...than finance director ...

Negotiations between the Local International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Carnegie Hall broke down Tuesday night and union leaders called for a strike on Wednesday morning.

The dispute between the union and Carnegie Hall is over the hall's new education wing. Carnegie Hall officials said the strike is an attempt to force Carnegie Hall to agree to the union’s demand for jurisdiction over the whole of the newly-created wing.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, said the union's involvement with the hall's education efforts would compromise the institution's mission.

Michael Cooper covers classical music for The New York Times. He said the company "dug a line in the sand" regarding the education wing. Some stagehands, he added, are among the highest paid employees at Carnegie Hall, with some making more than $400,000 a year.

It's the first strike in Carnegie Hall's history since it opened in the late 19th century, and it comes on a sad week for classical music fans. On Tuesday, City Opera announced it would be filing for bankruptcy, after failing to raise enough money to continue operations.

"This is really about the perils facing classical music in the 21st century," Cooper said.

, who covers classical music for The New York Times. "It really shows you how fragile the industry is right now."

Wednesday's concert was to feature The Philadelphia Orchestra, renowned violinist Joshua Bell and vocalist Esperanza Spalding. Cooper said it's a huge night for Carnegie Hall — last year's gala raised $2.7 million. Our sister station WQXR was supposed to broadcast Wednesday's concert. WQXR said the live broadcast will be replaced with an encore broadcast of last season’s performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra from Carnegie Hall, beginning at 7pm on WQXR 105.9 FM and

Carnegie Hall said all future performances remain on schedule, and daily updates will be issued pending resolution of the strike.


Michael Cooper

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Comments [2]

LEZ from Chelsea

re Forest Hills cynic: In terms of staying on topic, this comment seems to have violated the Comment Guidelines , and we're surprised it was put on the web page.
It's author seems to have forgotten that we have been in a recession for five years, after fifty or so years during which the average real wages have fallen. At the same time, the large corporations and affluent people responsible for the recession have had their taxes reduced by nearly two thirds. Of course, these taxes are a large part of what previously supported the musical organizations, cities, states and federal governments. Thus, it enabled these entities to develop the functionality whose absence he/she protests.
That this all occurred while the country was engaged in multiple expensive and universally destructive wars seems also to be beyond the author's ken. The wars did help the corporations and affluent people, but not the unions!

Oct. 03 2013 01:48 PM
Forest Hills Cynic from Queens

This situation is outrageous and illustrates how the tyranny of unions holds hostage all New Yorkers. That a simple, light duty, indoor manual labor job that requires no education pays $400,000 – many times far more than the rare talent, who struggled years to learn their craft, earns is obscene. It’s as if the ground crew at Yankee stadium made 4 times what the players make.

It’s why all Broadway & large venue tickets cost too much, thus preventing any but the upper class from attending.

It’s why middle class housing can’t be built in NYC because labor unions have monopoly control over who can work – keeping minorities and immigrants from craft jobs and raising local labor costs to stratospheric levels, thus making only luxury housing economically feasible.

It’s why hospital costs are so high because, as one who works in health field, I can state that these institutions exist not to provide health care, but to provide jobs for union employs.

It’s the unions who really run the MTA, Dept. of Ed, DOT, DMV etc. protecting their featherbedding incompetent employees and why we get such terrible civil service for our money. It’s why train transportation no longer exists in this country, while it thrives elsewhere – to our environmental disadvantage.

And this is why Detroit couldn’t react to changing conditions and is now bankrupt. It is the civil services unions, which enable the Republicans to state that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.

Unions are necessary to represent workers, but neither management nor labor should have stranglehold monopoly power.

Oct. 03 2013 08:54 AM

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