Kennedy Center & IATSE Local 22 Stagehands Agree to New 3-Year Deal

By David Salazar

The Kennedy Center has announced that it reached an agreement with IATSE Local 22 stagehands.

Per a press statement, the new agreement is for three years and features a mutual agreement on questions of wages, benefits, work rules, and a clear jurisidiction regarding non-theater work, the latter of which the Kennedy Center had claimed was a major point of contention in previous conversations. Additionally, the new contract includes “modest” wage increases and benefits by 2023. COVID-19 protocols were also consolidated in the agreement.

As such, the 2021-22 season is set to proceed as originally planned.

“We are satisfied with the outcome of these negotiations with IATSE Local 22. From the outset we have been open and transparent with the union regarding our financial challenges and the need for shared sacrifice across the institution. This new agreement falls within the parameters of the financial framework the Center’s leadership and board recognize will be critical for the Center’s long-term viability,” said Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter in an official press statement. “I also want to add that throughout our 50-year history, the stagehands have always played a very important role here at the Kennedy Center. The caliber and technical expertise of our stagehands, in addition to their sheer dedication, are truly essential to the Kennedy Center’s ability to deliver world-class performances day after day, night after night. We are pleased to be able to carry on with the work we do together, and most of all, to welcome audiences and artists back to the nation’s cultural center.”

The agreement comes days after the stagehands voted to strike against the Kennedy Center. The Center had fired back claiming that negotiations had ceased because of one issue – that the union wanted guaranteed exclusive employment for events that it purportedly never took on previously.