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Release: Feb. 29, 2000


University issues statement regarding work stoppage by Hancher stagehands

The University of Iowa has been informed by the stagehands of Local 690 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) that they will not be working any further performances at Hancher Auditorium this spring until a university-wide agreement is signed for next season. The apparent reason for the walkout is that union's belief that negotiations for such a contract have not gone as quickly as desired.

This is the latest in a series of events stretching back to fall 1999 when the stagehands union and Hancher Auditorium entered into a mediation process. At that time, members of the union refused to work the performances of "Geometry of Miracles" Sept. 9-11 and subsequently did not work at a number of performances that otherwise would have used union labor. Hancher was able to continue operation by calling upon its own staff, its student crew of stagehand and temporary workers.

After protracted negotiations, the university and Local 690 entered into an interim agreement in December 1999. The university made a number of significant concessions on overtime pay and number of shows to be worked in 2000-2001 in that agreement, and the union agreed to return to work for shows at Hancher this spring. The parties have met several times since the first of the year to discuss the terms of the university-wide agreement, but an agreement for 2000-2001 has not been finalized.

The university has bargained in good faith with Local 690 and is willing to continue to do so. At this time there are significant differences between the positions of the parties, but the university hopes to complete an agreement that addresses these issues. Failing that, the university will consider alternatives for obtaining stagehand support necessary for future university performances at Hancher Auditorium.