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Brown, Ryan call for negotiations with stage workers

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and U.S. Rep Tim Ryan, D-Howland, are urging the Henry H. Stambaugh Auditorium Association to negotiate with IATSE Local 101 over the union’s lapsed contract at Youngstown’s DeYor Performing Arts Center.

Stambaugh Chief Executive and Operating Officer Matt Pagac blamed the union for the lack of negotiations.

Jeff Hall, president of Local 101 of the union that represents theatrical stage employees as well as motion picture technicians and craftspeople, said its contract at DeYor, which includes Powers Auditorium and Ford Family Recital Hall, expired when the venue was managed by the Youngstown Symphony Society, but it continued to work for the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra under the terms of the old agreement and worked events for other promoters and arts organizations who rented the theaters.

The Youngstown Symphony Society furloughed its staff and announced a management agreement with Stambaugh in December 2020.

Hall said the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra no longer uses IATSE members, and the policies put in place by Stambaugh have made it impossible for union members to work there, even when promoters / organizations renting the theaters want to use them.

The union decided to reach out to Brown’s office because the venues received federal funds from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, which was part of the American Rescue Plan.

The letter signed by both Democrats says, “The Mahoning Valley is fortunate to have a strong and robust arts culture that makes this community a more vibrant place to live and work. We know how important your work is … For more than 50 years, IATSE workers have made arts organizations successful in the Valley, and contributed to the fabric of this community. It is deeply troubling that an agreement cannot be reached to ensure these workers are treated with dignity.”

Pagac responded Friday in a written statement that says, “We have expressed to IATSE Local 101 our wishes to explore how IATSE Local 101 and the Youngstown Symphony Society may find a mutually beneficial way of working together,” but the union has failed to provide a date when Stambaugh can meet with its international representative.

“The Youngstown Symphony Society continues to stand ready to explore with IATSE Local 101 how we may work together for mutual benefit,” according to Pagac’s statement.

Hall said he disagreed with Pagac’s characterization of why negotiations haven’t happened. While he was pleased with the quick response from Brown and Ryan, Hall wasn’t sure it would have much impact.

“Ideally, what we would like to see happen is to be able to once again staff DeYor Center with trained, professional people like we’ve always done and return to the way things were,” Hall said.

We’d like to see (them) give us a contract as exclusive provider for stage labor in that facility. Realistically, I doubt anything is going to come of this. The symphony society and Stambaugh are going to do everything within their power to resist that.”

agray@tribtoday.com

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