"With rising unemployment in it’s own ranks, IATSE Local One decided to create it’s own relief program. With the agreement of the theatre managers, it was decided stagehands would work a five-show week and that unemployed stagehands would make up the rest of the shows. I haven’t determined how the program was administered, though perhaps like our League Strike, we learned to administer it on the fly. When there wasn’t enough work, there were relief stipends, and in emergency cases, there were loans. Sometimes raffles were held to help individuals, often the retired stagehand without a pension, who were having illnesses or other hard times.
In September of 1935, IATSE representatives, Local One business agents and others in the industry met in Washington and New York with Hattie Flanagan, newly appointed head of the Federal Theatre Project of the Works Progress Administration. In her first Regional Directors Report on Oct. 8th, 1935, Miss Flanagan describes meeting with the various interested parties. After meeting with “National Stage hands Union” she said, "The decision was that we cannot run a union shop, but that preferences is given to union workers because of their professional qualifications".
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
One NYC Stagehand has an interesting blog on the WPA and how Local One dealt with the problems at hand.
Labels: Theatre History