Picket lines come down: Stagehands’, Kimmel Center announce one-week “cooling off” period

    On Saturday night, the Kimmel Center management and Stagehands’ Local 8 announced a “cooling off” period, with the understanding that negotiations between the two parties would continue.

    Update, 6:30 p.m.: Stagehands’ Local 8 and Kimmel Center Management have announced a one week “cooling off period.” The one week window means picket lines will come down to allow the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s production of Carmen to move forward uninterrupted.

    In a statement, the IATSE said contract negotiations would resume Monday, October 10.

    “Today, IATSE Local 8 made a good faith gesture to the Opera Company of Philadelphia to help preserve their very expensive and important production of Carmen at the Kimmel Center,” Local 8 Business Agent Michael Barnes said.

    “We have taken our picket line down and will resume negotiations in a little over a week.”

    Earlier in the day, the Kimmel Center announced its Saturday performances were canceled. The cancelled performances included Audra McDonald at Verizon Hall, Angela Barrows-Dunlap’s Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boyz at the Merriam Theater and The Big Bang at the Innovation Studio.

    The Audra McDonald concert has been rescheduled for November 30.

    The cancellations were the result of the strike of hundreds of theater workers, who hit the picket lines at midnight.

    WPVI-TV reports the workers received a proposal for a new contract at 11:50 p.m. Friday night.

    In an earlier statement, the Kimmel Center said it “continues to negotiate vigorously and in good faith with union representatives to reach an agreement on new labor contracts between the parties.”

    In a past statement issued Thursday, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 8 announced it was holding a peaceful protest outside of the Kimmel Center on the eve of the strike “to protest the Kimmel Center management’s refusal to meet the Stagehands’ fair terms (modest wage and benefit increases) for a new contract.”

    The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees represents workers at the Kimmel Center, Merriam Theater and the Academy of Music, according to WPVI-TV.

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