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Goodman Theatre Stagehands on Strike

After months of very unproductive negotiations between the Goodman Theatre management and the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees discussion has ended -- and the strike has begun.
A report from the picket lines:

On March 22nd of last year, Local 2 International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) sent a letter to the Goodman Theatre stating that they had recieved "signed authorization cards from a majority of the employees of the Chicago Theatre Group, Inc." Chicago Theatre Group is the official business name of the theatre. Shortly thereafter, informal talks began and lasted for several months. Serious negotiaions with proposed contracts began in late September of 2000. Since that time negotiations have been very polite, civil -- and moving at a snail's pace. Once money got onto the table things got pretty insulting.

We tried to even out the wages that people get paid, and management returned us a contract with rather random wages for different people. Increases in wages from management were unacceptable.

After several meetings among our labour body we decided that management wasn't truely interested in respectful negotiations. We chose to take action through a labour stoppage. We chose the final afternoon matinee of "House" and "Garden" two linked plays by Alan Ayckbourn. We had approximately 120 members of IATSE walking the line and handbilling with us. Many ticketholders and subscribers were who are union members themselves were dissapointed to see a picket line. Some went in and were refused refunds for their tickets, and others simply ripped up their tickets in front of the management representitives.

Since then we have been walking picket lines downtown at the theatre and at our scene shop at 2040 W. Carroll. On March 6th, management started bringing in scabs to finish the construction of the next show, which is scheduled to open March 16th. We hope to hinder that process with union support and vigilent picketing. Management has asked all of their remaining employees (chiefly admininstrative) to "step in" themselves and to help find "anybody you know" who is "available and willing to work." They are asking people who are already overworked to go above and beyond their hired job descriptions to dirty scab work -- including people we know and considered friends.

We press on. We have recieved support from NABET, which has donated a propane heater, coffee, doughnuts and the warmth of their nearby offices every day. Passing SAG/AFTRA members have given us praise and moral support along with phone calls and letters to the Goodman. We are working on getting as many of the local teamsters to support our pickets as possible. Our fellow scenic artists (USAA) who paint our scenery are with us, and the scenery and lighting designers of the same union are working with their lawyers to get out of their respective contracts.

Call the Goodman, write to management, crash their server with complaints, come out and walk our line with us!

Geoff Pender, strike captain

Contact info for Goodman Theatre:

The Goodman Theatre
Executive Director Roche Schulfer
Artistic Director Robert Falls
170 N. Dearborn
Chicago, Illinois 60601
administrative offices: (312) 443-3811
Email: staff (at)



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