Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I.A.T.S.E. Local Bag of Crap

Today I got my first taste of a union strike, something that's been ongoing at my work, The Raymon F. Kravis Center the Performing Arts, for the last 7+ years.

Today we were supposed to load in Riverdance as they gave their farewell performances. That load in never took place.

Apparently the local theatre union, I.A.T.S.E. Local 500, didn't want the Kravis Center working Riverdance, a yellow card show (union show). It makes sense that they would be upset that a show specifically designated for their employees was now being worked by non-union members. Riverdance did, however, sign a contract with the Kravis Center, fully aware of its non-union status. And so this morning, the local union did what it does best: prevent any real work from getting done.

Come on, Local 500, get over yourselves.

As stated above, this isn't our first run in with the union. The Kravis Center used to be a strictly union house, but has since retired its yellow card, hiring its own full-time house crew to take over. With that change comes the influx of ivy-league lawyers and the promise of a long, drawn-out courtship that will ultimately end in an even more bitter divorce than the fighting that brought it there to begin with.

So today ended well for everyone except the theatre-goers. Kravis Center crew got a well needed day of rest; Kravis hired Part-Time Tech (PTT) workers got a free ride today; It was business as usual for the union members holding the picket lines. Looks like everyone got a good deal out of it except for those now having to deal with getting refunds for the show that did not go on.

As it stands now, it's up in the air as to whether or not the show will go on. There are talks of whether the union will get the show or whether Riverdance will say farewell early and dance into their next city fully rested.


Matt Algren said...

I'm relatively anti-union (though a bit less stridently than I have been in the past), but anything that keeps Riverdance from performing is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I missed something in your previous Blogging, But What exactly is it you do, in your 7plus year job at the Kravis center?

Fenton said...

1) I have not been at the Kravis Center for 7 years, nor did I say anything of the sort. I have been there for about 14 months.

2) What do I do? I work with the rest of the Tech Crew to put on shows that come into our venue.

What do you do, anonymous?

Anonymous said...

I read your blog with great interest. You appear to be a thinker. The Kravis Center took away union work thus taking away a man's job. Do you think the union should walk away and be replaced so easily? Corporations are killing little people. Will they replace you as easily?

Anonymous said...

I can tell you as a roadie that has done union shows in the large hall and non-union shows in the black box theatre that the non-union staff there is a joke. Sorry buddy. I am talking specifically about the sound crew. They must be magicians because they disappear every 5 minutes. You have a lot of nice equipment to have retards running it

Fenton said...

To Anonymous commenter from September 3, 2008:

The Kravis Center made a decision to go from hiring Union workers to hiring their own theatre staff. Do I think the Union workers should walk away and be replaced so easily? Well let me ask you this: Do you think the Kravis Center should continue it's business with the Union even if they are able to run their theatre as effient and for less with its own crew? What gives the Union the right to dictate how the Kravis Center runs its business?

I agree that coorporations are killing the little people. But realize that the Kravis is not saying you specifically cannot work there; only that the Union cannot. In fact, the Kravis has hired quite a few Union workers as Tech Crew. The difference? They are Kravis employees rather than Union employees.

Will they replace me as easily? Who knows. I would hope I do well enough to keep my superiors pleased with my job performance. If at some time I do slip, and they feel my time at the Kravis has run its course, then they have every right to let me go. In the same way, though, I have that right to leave the Kravis at a time I deem suitable as well.

Fenton said...

To Anonymous commenter from November 4, 2008:

Thanks for the comments.

Perhaps you can go into a little more detail about your discontent with the Kravis Sound Crew? As far as I am concerned, they are quite intelligent and most capable.

You mention that they disappear every 5 minutes. Maybe I'm just confused by your comment, but it seems to me that when the Union is using the theatre spaces in the Kravis, our guys aren't needed, right? If the Kravis Sound Crew is not needed (and will not engage in Union work for obvious reasons), it would seem that they shouldn't need to be visible to Union workers such as yourself. Does the Union need the Kravis Sound Crew to be around all the time? Are the Union Sound guys so incapable that they need the Kravis Tech to hold their hands?

You be the judge.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has toured through the Kravis with both the IA as hands and the scab labor as their replacement, I think it is fair to comment on the quality of the Non-Union scab labor that has been brought in to replace them. Locking out my union brothers of the Kravis Center is a crime. Not to mention a huge disappointment to the IA shows that are unfortunate enough to have the Kravis on their tour routes. The IA guarantees a certain caliber of quality stagehands. By locking out the IATSE crew from the Kravis, they are taking away work from brothers and sisters that are both skilled and dedicated to their jobs.

Fenton said...

Hello Anonymous commenter from December 19, 2008. Sorry for my delayed reply, but at the time of your comment I was aboard an airplane with my wife heading to Las Vegas for our honeymoon. Needless to say, you pale in comparison to my wife.

Anyway, to the point.

As someone who has now worked at the Kravis Center coming up on two years and has worked with union hands, I think it is fair to comment on the quality of the union labor brought in to the Kravis Center and other theatres abroad.

You would be hard-pressed to find a traveling company that has passed through the Kravis and has worked with our technical department that does not prefer Kravis Crew to IA hands. Furthermore, nearly all of those aforementioned traveling companies have commented on the superiority of the Kravis Crew to that of the union, from their dedication and competence to their ability to demolish IA load out times. In the same way that you pale in comparison to my wife, so the 'certain caliber of quality stagehands' the union provides pales in comparison to the Kravis Center Crew.

To state that the Kravis Center has 'locked out' the union is to grossly misinterpret the issue at hand. If you had done any research before making your comment, you would know that much. And as I've already addressed that issue, I feel it irrelevant to do so again.

As for the statement about the 'huge disappointment to the IA shows' that come to the Kravis, I say this. Would that we could work those IA shows, Anonymous. Yet since the union feels the need to cry and picket when we do try to work those IA shows, such a 'disappointment to the IA shows' could not be brought on by Kravis Crew, but by the union itself. So much for that 'certain caliber of quality' you promised.

By hiring out their own crew, the Kravis Center affirms its dedication to quality in the performing arts. By hiring union hands as Kravis Crew, the Kravis Center is extending its hand to those IA brothers and sisters you feel are being deprived. And in fact, Anonymous, as the Kravis Center continues to hire union hands as full-time Kravis Center Crew, your childish and unsupported insults to us are insults to the union itself.

Anonymous said...

what will you do now , mr rat fuck?

Fenton said...

Hello there Anonymous commenter from January 25, 2009!

I read your comment with great intrigue!

The careful and meticulous way by which you try to insult me only brings humiliation on yourself.

My suggestion is to try a little harder next time, and don't be such a douche.


Anonymous said...

Eric Winn says you are a loser.

Fenton said...

Greetings Anonymous commenter from January 28, 2009!

Thank you for that insightful nugget of information! Be sure to tell Eric that I love him too.

On a side note, I find it interesting that all of you anonymous commenters come on this blog and talk a big talk, but have to hide behind anonymity. Seriously, people, grow a pair. Sign what you write.

Fenton (Andy) Hollingsworth.

Anonymous said...

I have known and worked with Eric Winn on and off for about 20 years. I started out as a good Union Brother, but when it all came down, he turned out to be nothing more than a SCAB to The Highest order. It is because of him that we Local #500 spent thousands of dollars defending our right to Organize the Kravis Center. I would not trust him to plug in a lamp let alone a line set of moving lights. Thank God we have won or suit with the Kravis and they are now going to sit down and re-work the contract for the house. Eric cost 7 brothers and sisters to lose their job after being on house Staff for 6-7 years. Eric is out for Eric and nothing more than that. He likens himself to a Mercenary Stagehand "When the money is gone so is he.
I control the labor for Broward and West Palm Beach Counties, and I have never seen anything like him before in my life. He is a SCAB and always will be a SCAB. I will tell this to his face, he knows how i am, just come and visit me.

Fenton said...

Hello placerau! Thanks for your comments!

You can say what you want about Eric; but the fact is that for every show he has run electrics, the production staff for that show has always preferred Eric's lighting to that of any union or non-union house. So in that regard, those productions would trust him over any other union hand, any day of the week. (An added bonus is that he comes to work sober... and stays that way throughout the call!)

Secondly, that you single out Eric as the sole reason for the BS between the union and the Kravis Center is not only ignorant on your part, but you have no evidence to back it up. Yet, it doesn't surprise me that you would blame anyone but yourselves. You're always looking for a hand-out anyway.

Thirdly, it's kind of you to actually sign up for Blogger.com in order to post your comment, unlike your anonymous brethren. But ultimately you too have shown nothing but cowardice in not being able to give your name. And if you want to say anything to Eric, I suggest you make the effort for once in your pathetic life, and do it yourself. You want Eric to come down there and see you? That's laughable. Eric doesn't have the time that you do. He actually works for a living.

Fenton Hollingsworth.

Anonymous said...


Anything that was said about Eric was in error. I had a few to many last night and probably said something I didn't really mean to say. Eric is a good electrician and is entitled to work anywhere he chooses. I just happen to have a different view on labor issues. I apologize to Eric for what I said, but didn't really mean. I want for the Union body, what is best for the Union. Florida is a right to work state, and there-fore anybody can work for whoever will hire them. I will now excuse myself from your blog and you just go about your business as usual. I will keep my opinions to myself for now.
You have a good day.........

Mrs. Fenton Andrew Hollingsworth said...

To the pitiful Anonymous commenter from December 4th, 2009:

Don't be jealous that this man is with our King and you never will be...that was your choice and your cross to bear in Hell.

And please, get yourself an education or at least a dictionary: "your" does not equal "you are" nor does "then" equal "than."