Carnegie Hall Stagehands Making Average of $419,000 End Strike

This week, Carnegie Hall stagehands who make on average $419,000 a year went on strike, forcing the cancellation of a gala that would have benefited nonprofit artistic and education programs. 

The dispute between the 122-year hall and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union, reportedly the first ever strike at Carnegie Hall, was resolved on Friday. 

According to the Village Voice, Carnegie Hall's opening gala is "its biggest fundraising night of the year" and was supposed to take place on Wednesday, but patrons found a message on Carnegie Hall's website that informed them the gala had been called off: "This concert has regrettably been cancelled due to a strike by Carnegie Hall's stagehands, represented by IATSE / Local One (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees)."

There are reportedly five full-time stagehands at Carnegie Hall, and they "are among its eight highest-paid employees." Each of the stagehands reportedly takes home "more money than Carnegie Hall's director of administration, development director, and director of finance," even after the last round of pay cuts. Carnegie Hall does employ some part-time stagehands. In fact, only Carnegie's executive director makes more than the highest-paid stagehand. 

Carnegie Hall reportedly wanted to keep the "union out of its new educational wing," because it is not "part of the union's territory, and using Local 1's members for work in that part of Carnegie Hall will jack their costs up way too high." That was reportedly "the crux of the disagreement that prompted Wednesday's strike."

According to the New York Times, under the new agreement, the union will receive “limited jurisdiction,” which means "that Carnegie will hire a union stagehand—one to start, more only if needed—to work in the education wing," but that "stagehand would not be paid at the same rate as those who work in the performance spaces." In addition, "the education wing will not be subject to the same restrictions as the concert halls on who can move or set up equipment."

The Village Voice complied a list of the of Carnegie Hall's highest-paid employees, and the five stagehands listed below are five of the ten highest-paid employees:  

  • 2. Dennis O'Connell, Properties Manager: $464,632
  • 3. James Csollany, Carpenter:$441,223
  • 5. John Cardinale, Electrician: $425,872
  • 7. John Goodson, Electrician: $395,207
  • 8. Ken Beltrone, Carpenter: $371,813

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