Oregon Shakespeare Festival files legal objection after stagehands vote to join IATSE

Instead of accepting the results of last month’s union vote and starting negotiations on a first contract, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has filed legal objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

On June 10, a group of 71 stagehands and theater technicians voted 37 to 25 to join International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). The newly unionized group is the “run crew” that runs backstage operations during the nine months of the year plays are showing, but OSF previously argued that the bargaining unit should also include year-round employees who construct sets and make costumes. Those other groups showed less interest in unionizing, so adding them to the proposed bargaining unit could derail the union effort. The NLRB’s regional director rejected OSF’s arguments, and ruled that the run crew was an appropriate bargaining unit.

On June 25, OSF executive director Cynthia Rider emailed employees saying that she and artistic director Bill Rauch “have decided to exercise OSF’s legal right to request a review of the NLRB regional director’s decision.”

If the NLRB accepts the request for review, Rider wrote, it could take three to six months for a final decision.

[Read Rider’s email to employees here.]

1 Comment

  1. Ah, yes…three to six months that runs out the clock on this season…then people start getting “laid off” or learning “we can’t be sure there’ll be a position for you next season”.
    We could hope or even expect more enlightened management in the arts, but apparently not when the arts are big business, which is exactly what OSF is in Ashland.
    (insert your choice of expletives here)

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