How Do You Get to a $400K Salary at Carnegie Hall? Learn a Trade

Carnegie Hall's opening gala—its biggest fundraising night of the year—was supposed to take place on October 2. The black tie event benefiting the nonprofit's artistic and education programs would have included performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Grammy Award-winners Joshua Bell and Esperanza Spalding.

Early in the week, though, patrons found a note on the venue's website announcing that the performance 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)." It was the first strike in Carnegie Hall's history.

The nonprofit's five full-time stagehands are among its highest-paid employees. Each of them takes home more money than Carnegie Hall's director of administration, development director, and director of finance.

Carnegie Hall does employ more stagehands, the Village Voice is told, part time and on an as-needed basis. But administration would not say how many such workers they hire or how much they're paid.

The fact that the full-time employees command such high salaries is exactly why Carnegie Hall wanted to keep union stagehands out of its new educational wing—the crux of the disagreement that prompted Wednesday's strike.

Said Local One president James J. Claffey Jr. in a statement: "Carnegie Hall Corporation continued for 13 months to fail to acknowledge the traditional and historic work that we perform, and after no significant progress, we found it absolutely necessary to take action to protect the members that we represent."

The new wing, management argues, is outside the union's purview—i.e., it's not a concert venue—and using Local One's members for work in that part of Carnegie Hall would be cost-prohibitive.

"We are disappointed that, despite the fact that the stagehands have one of the most lucrative contracts in the industry, they are now seeking to expand their jurisdiction beyond the concert hall and into the new education wing in ways that would compromise Carnegie Hall's education mission," Carnegie Hall's executive and artistic director, Clive Gillinson, said in a statement.

Gillinson himself is Carnegie Hall's highest-paid employee, with a base salary of $864,928 and additional compensation worth $224,591. Including benefits, Gillinson took home a total of $1,113,571 in 2011. But he's the only person in the corporation who makes more money than every stagehand.

Here is a full list of Carnegie Hall's 11 next highest-paid employees, according to Internal Revenue Service Form 990, which the nonprofit is required to sub-mit to the IRS and keep on file. Union stagehands—all of whom are listed on the form as working 80 hours per week—are in bold. (Notably, the salaries reflect pay cuts enacted in recent years.)

2. Dennis O'Connell, properties manager: $464,632

3. James Csollany, carpenter: $441,223

4. Richard Matlaga, chief financial officer (not listed on website staff box): $429,259

5. John Cardinale, electrician: $425,872

6. Aaron Levine, chief information officer: $406,048

7. John Goodson, electrician: $395,207

8. Ken Beltrone, carpenter: $371,813

9. Anna Weber, general manager, artistic and operations: $368,255

10. Susan J. Brady, development director: $317,110

11. Richard Malenka, director: $315,277

12. Theodore E. Phillips, director of finance: $259,812

The strike was over in the blink of an eye. On Friday, Carnegie Hall and Local One announced they'd settled their dispute after a single cancelation (the gala). The concert portion of the event that raised about $2.7 million last year had been called off, but a $1,500-a-plate dinner at the Waldorf Astoria went ahead as planned, raising nearly $3.4 million.

Under the new agreement, Local One will have "limited jurisdiction" within the new educational wing. Carnegie Hall spokesman Matt Carlson would not elaborate on what limited jurisdiction entails, beyond saying, "There will be some aspects of work in those spaces, where relevant, that will be handled by stagehands."

Carlson says that as part of the agreement, Carnegie Hall will hire one additional stagehand "dedicated to work in the Education Wing." He declines to divulge how much that person will be paid.

In a statement on Friday, Executive Director Gillinson hailed the agreement as "one that meets all of our institution's education needs as we work toward fulfilling the potential of our new spaces in Carnegie Hall's Education Wing."

Local One seems pleased to be out of the spotlight. Other than the brief statement posted on its website, the union did not utter a peep to the press during the strike. On Friday, after striking a deal with Carnegie Hall, Local One president Claffey finally responded to the Voice's requests for comment.

"Local One is very pleased with our new four-year agreement," Claffey writes in an e-mail. "The Union and Carnegie Hall both met each of their objectives and look forward to a productive and rewarding future."

The new wing, located in the upper floors of Carnegie Hall, is slated to open sometime next fall.

tstuart@villagevoice.com

 
My Voice Nation Help
10 comments
BBMW
BBMW

I don't know why CH didn't use the strike as an excuse to permanently replace them.  They could easily find qualified replacements for 1/5 what these guys are getting paid.

godhempus
godhempus

Carnegie towers corporation, including the grand hall and art wing...makes over quarter of a billion dollars a year. So I think thats why management makes a deal so quickly.

Theyre all in it for a great paycheck and nobody has to kill himself to make it. NYC is a wonderful place to work. We all do well, and we love it.

smdarchitects
smdarchitects

This is why this country is going down the tubes.

spencerprods
spencerprods

Conspicuous by its absence is a breakdown of the union activities required at the Hallowed Carnegie Hall. Here are a few:  changing light bulbs, rolling the Steinway Grand Piano on and off stage, carrying a potted plant on stage, opening and closing a backdrop or frontal curtain, filling the conductor's water glass, replacing a broken baton and sweeping the stage afterwards. The only question is: how many stagehands need rehab treatment after a day's work at Carnegie Hall?

gregoryabutler
gregoryabutler

What they don't tell you in this anti labor screed is that most stagehands are hired by the day, and make about $ 30 bucks an hour.

They earn every penny of that money

I guess the Voice would prefer that $4 hour non union off the books day labor did the stagehand work

gregoryabutler
gregoryabutler

What they don't tell you in this anti labor screed is that most stagehands are hired by the day, and make about $ 30 bucks an hour.

They earn every penny of that money

I guess the Voice would prefer that $4 hour non union off the books day labor did the stagehand work

anonymous
anonymous

Fuck greedy lazy entitled white trash union scum

gold
gold

Since when did the V V become anti union? If Brad Pitt gets 20 million per pic as a UNION member, why do people accept that and move on? Who do you think keeps NYC together: it's unions.  Every face on TV is union, every voice on the radio is union. SO why pick on guys at Carnagie?  How much do they net after taxes? Do they have off shore loan out corporations? How many of you have Apple phones made in CHina? C'mon, guilt up. How many of you have Apple phones and tabs? How much does the Apple CEO make? How much does the poor Asian person assembling the Apple phone make?  Every football player you love is a union member. DO you want them to make less? Do you feel better if someone makes less? Unions are about making more. Maybe you should brush up on your skills and make more by work.  Maybe you should send some dough to the guys in China.  I thought not. Every actor who struts the boards on Broadway - yes, a union member. Of course, of course, they make too much, right?  Envy is not logic. Envy does not raise the curtain. Unions do the work, friends.

kplo
kplo moderator communitymanager

Practice?

gregoryabutler
gregoryabutler

@gold Thank you! They mentioned those 5 stagehands in management positions.

They didn't tell you that 95% of the stagehands at Carnegie Hall are hired by the day for $ 30 bucks an hour.

 
New York Concert Tickets
Loading...