Stagehands Striking at Carnegie Hall Average More Than $419,000 Per Year
Carnegie Hall's opening gala--its biggest fundraising night of the year--was supposed to take place Wednesday evening. The black tie event benefiting the non-profit's artistic and education programs would have included performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Grammy Award-winners Joshua Bell and Esperanza Spalding.
Earlier this week though, patrons found a note on Carnegie Hall's website explaining 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 non-profit's five full-time stagehands are among its eight 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, we're told, part time and on an as-needed basis. It's unclear how many part time stagehands Carnegie Hall employs every year, or what kind of salaries they are paid. The union has not responded to multiple inquiries from the Voice.
The fact that they command such high salaries is exactly why Carnegie Hall wants to keep the union out of its new educational wing--the crux of the disagreement that prompted Wednesday's strike.
Local 1's president, James Claffey, Jr., said 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, isn't 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.
"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 told the New York Times.
Gillinson himself is Carnegie Hall's highest-paid employee, with a base salary of $864,928, and additional compensation worth $224,591. Add in benefits, and in 2012, Gillinson took home a total of $1,113,571. But he's the only person in the entire non-profit that makes more money than every stagehand.
Here is a full list of Carnegie Hall's highest paid employees, according to the non-profit's 990, with union stagehands in bold. (Believe it or not, these salaries are actually after pay cuts 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 Carnegie Hall's staff website): $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 Brady, Development Director: $317,110 11. Richard Malenka, Director: $315,277 12. Theodore E. Phillips, Director of Finance: $259,812
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