Since opening in 1992, the main performance hall of the Kravis Center was professionally staffed and represented by IATSE stagehands operating under a standard Theatrical Stage Union contract. Union stagehands performed all backstage work for all shows that were presented in the Dreyfoos Hall in an efficient and safety-conscious manner, meeting and often exceeding all expectations and goals for the hall. Crew members were lauded by incoming show staff for their work ethic, knowledge, and efficiency.
In June of 2000, after 8 years of congenial interaction, the administration of the facility decided to make a change: a “business decision.” They fired the union workers with no cause whatsoever and gave lower-paid, non-union workers their jobs.
After a lengthy investigation, the attorneys for the Regional Director of the Nation Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined that the Kravis Center had committed “massive and continuous violations of Federal Labor Law.”
The Kravis Center appealed. After a lengthy hearing before a Federal Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the ALJ concluded that the Kravis Center had indeed committed “massive and continuous violations of Federal Labor Law.” The violations included:
· Illegally withdrawing recognition of IATSE
· Illegally terminating contract negotiations with IATSE
· Illegally refusing to negotiate with IATSE at all
· Illegally and unilaterally changing wages & conditions of employment for IATSE members
· Illegally firing IATSE members working as department heads in the facility
· Illegally transferred duties to other employees
· Illegally insisting the union could not represent those other employees
· Illegally refused to consider for hire qualified persons based on union membership/activities
Once again, the Kravis Center appealed the decision. After five more years of deliberation, the NLRB ruled that the Kravis Center was wrong on all counts. The Kravis Center appealed again. In December 2008, the United States Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia ruled against the Kravis Center on every issue and threatened the Center with charges of civil contempt of court if it did not re-instate the wronged union workers and re-negotiate a contract with those workers.
Under threat of significant fines, the Kravis Center re-hired several of the illegally fired union member department heads and began formal contract negotiations with IATSE. Negotiations immediately stalled over the Kravis Center’s insistence that the illegally hired replacement workers be allowed to retain the positions taken from IATSE members, and be allowed to work beside IATSE members in the Dreyfoos Hall under a different, non-union contract for different (lesser) wages and benefits, replacing union members on the job site.
In January of 2011, the Kravis Center again declared official impasse, halted contract negotiations, fired union workers, and went back to business as usual—implementing the same scheme it had tried before. Once again the Kravis Center has decided to spend its donor contributions to pay union-busting lawyers to wage war on local professional stagehands. We are now into the second decade of this costly, embarrassing, and UNJUST assault on people who just want to do their jobs.
What will it take to enforce the laws of this country upon this wealthy corporation, stop their blatant union-busting, and get these suffering people back to work?
This is our website, where we attempt to get the word out to all who want to know.
HEY KRAVIS CENTER:
WE WANT OUR JOBS BACK