Strike threatens West Palm Jersey Boys performances

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - UPDATE: Wednesday evening performance of Jersey Boys canceled.

Statement from the Kravis Center
 
(West Palm Beach, FL – December 19, 2012)  The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts regrets to announce that tonight's performance of JERSEY BOYS has been cancelled. Ticket-holders for tonight's performance should contact the Kravis Center Box Office at (561) 832-7469 to request seating in an alternate performance, or to request a house credit or a full refund.
 
The Kravis Center is disappointed that in the face of settlement discussions that are underway and set to resume in January on a date offered by the union and mutually agreed to, the stagehands union has chosen to disrupt this return engagement of JERSEY BOYS.  By attempting to prevent its members from working the show, the union is putting $250,000 in wages and benefits at risk just before the holidays for approximately 60 local stagehands from the union's hiring hall for three week's worth of work.
 
Since January 2009 every stage technician performing bargaining unit work has been represented by the union.  Wages paid to the union's hiring hall referrals are paid at the minimum rate of $24.77 per hour and $28.40 per hour for riggers plus premiums that can escalate rates to $86.70 and above.  
 
Many of the accusations by the union are simply alleged violations of labor law that will be the subject of an administrative hearing in 2013. The Kravis Center continues its effort to reach an amicable settlement with the union and remains optimistic that this goal will be achieved.  Over 20 meetings to resolve this dispute have been held between the Kravis Center and Local 500 and the Kravis Center continues to be available to meet at the union's convenience.
 
The Kravis Center is ready to perform and has the capability to move forward with our full-time union represented stagehands to present JERSEY BOYS for the enjoyment of the community and regrets that the union hiring hall referrals and Local 500 leadership are unwilling to go forward with this 3 week production.
 
In addition, the Kravis Center deeply regrets the disruption created by the cancellation of tonight's performance of JERSEY BOYS and apologizes to all ticket holders for any inconvenience.

 

EARLIER STORY:

Three weeks of performances of Jersey Boys at the Kravis Center in downtown West Palm Beach are in jeopardy.

The union that represents the stagehands, Local 500, is on strike.

The trucks full of gear for the traveling show are yet to be unpacked, as the dozens of stagehands formed a picket line at the Kravis Center.

"The show will not go on," said union rep Terry McKenzie.

While they've been without a contract for more than ten years, this is the first time the union is standing in the way of entire show.

They say Jersey Boys is popular and the Kravis Center could lose a lot of money if it cancels performances.

They say the Kravis Center violates Federal Law and reneged on a labor agreement reached in January.

"We have no problem with the product. Our beef is with the Kravis Center management. For the past twelve years, they have been manipulating the legal system," said McKenzie.

We were told by people at the back door of the Kravis that Jim and Judith Mitchell, the heads of the center were unavailable to speak with us.

However, Kravis Center management released a statement saying:

"Disappointed that in the face of settlement discussions that are underway and set to resume in January, the stagehands union is attempting to disrupt the return engagement of Jersey Boys. The union is putting $250,000 in wages and benefits for approximately 60 local stagehands."

The union told NewsChannel5  that they have not heard from the center since the strike began to restart negotiations.

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