The Philadelphia Stagehands Strike Is (Almost) Over [UPDATED]

Last night at 9 p.m., IATSE Local 8 business manager Mike Barnes told me that negotiations between his stagehands union and Philadelphia Theatre Company — which the stagehands walked out of two weeks ago — were ongoing and “not going well.”

But this morning, Barnes reports that the Philadelphia stagehands strike is almost over, with a ratification vote expected this morning and a press conference to follow.

This news comes one week after the theater company went forward with its production of The Mountaintop without stagehands and days after we learned of the resignation of a PTC board member.

Barnes says that a settlement agreement was reached at 2 a.m. this morning and that the union successfully negotiated for job protection, overtime after eight hours, double-time after midnight, and wage increases of 7.75 to 10 percent over three years for employees earning an hourly rate of $15 to $19, while fee-based workers received a 6 percent raise.

A PTC representative was not immediately available for comment. Updates will be posted here as warranted.

Update 2/1 1:35 p.m.: The strike is officially over. A spokesperson for PTC released the following:


Philadelphia Theatre Company is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with IATSE Local 8, the union representing the stagehand employees. The agreement needs to be ratified by the union leadership and the Philadelphia Theatre Company board of directors.

“During several lengthy meetings all afternoon and last evening, the union made significant movement to come closer to the terms which, although consistent with what PTC had originally proposed, had previously been rejected by the union,” said PTC’s Producing Artistic Director Sara Garonzik. “We have negotiated a settlement that is reasonable for PTC and appropriate to our size. We want to express our appreciation to our audiences, subscribers and artists for their wonderful support and patience during this challenging period. We are pleased that we can now focus on our mission of producing great theater.”

Performances of The Mountaintop by Katori Hall continue through Sunday, February 17 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Set in Memphis on April 3, 1968, The Mountaintop imagines the events that might have taken place the night before the assassination of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After delivering his magnificent “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, an exhausted and defeated Dr. King retires to Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel where he encounters a mysterious and spirited stranger as an epic storm rages outside.

The Mountaintop, directed by Patricia McGregor, stars Sekou Laidlow and Amirah Vann. Tickets are available by calling the PTC Box Office at 215-985-0420 or visiting Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre is located at Broad and Lombard Streets.

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