Oregon Shakespeare Festival drags out union bargaining

A group of 65 stagehands at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) in Ashland voted to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) last June, but 11 months later, they still don’t have a first contract. Union and management bargaining teams have been negotiating since September 2015 and have yet to agree on any economic terms.

OSF has hired former National Labor Relations Board agent Bill Leopardi, now a California union-busting consultant, to help communicate with its workers. But they can make up their own minds: Bargaining is open to all employees. As a result, says IATSE Rep David Bateman, more stagehands support the union now than when the 37-to-25 vote took place.

OSF is represented at the bargaining table by attorney Rick Liebman, while IATSE is assisted by attorney Liz Joffe.  They’ve been assisted by a federal mediator since April 11, and they next meet May 9.

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