IATSE #58 Picketing Alegría in Toronto

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) Local 58 will be holding an informational picket outside the big top at Ontario Place at 6:00 p.m. on September 12, to mark opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria. The picket comes in response to Cirque’s choice to use lower-paid, non-union labour to mount the production.

After a 20-year relationship that saw I.A.T.S.E. Local 58 working with Cirque to bring the Quebec-based circus company’s productions to audiences at the Port Lands and Ontario Place, the union was informed by Cirque this year that the company would be using non-union labour, at a rate of pay that is significantly lower than the skilled stagehands represented by Local 58 have been paid since they began working behind the scenes building sets, hanging lights and installing the sound equipment that create the spectacle audiences have come to know and love from Cirque.

“We are hugely disappointed in Cirque’s decision to take the cheap route on labour rather than honour a long-standing relationship 20 years in the making,” says I.A.T.S.E. Local 58 president Justin Antheunis.

The rate of pay for the non-union workers hired by Cirque du Soleil for the remount of Alegria is as much as $10.00 lower per hour than the wage Cirque paid Local 58 stagehands when they began providing labour for the company in the early 2000s.

“The fact that Cirque would rather line the pockets of a labour provider than pay the skilled technicians what their knowledge and experience is worth is deplorable,” says Antheunis. “It’s yet another example of a multi-national company coming to Toronto and trying to drive down the wages of workers in this city, at a time when it’s only getting more expensive to live here.”

The picket line will be set up outside the big top at Ontario Place at 6:00 p.m., where I.A.T.S.E. Local 58 stagehands will be informing patrons of Cirque’s unfair decision to use cheap non-union labour. President Antheunis will be on-site to answer questions.

{ SOURCE: Canadian Newswire }