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WorldPride Strikes Deal With Union Labor

Leading theatrical stagehand local working this weekend’s major events

State Senator Brad Hoylman (left), with his husband David SIgal and the older of their two daughters, Sylvia, at last year’s LGBTQ Pride March.
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Local One, a stagehand union of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, confirmed this week that their members are constructing, installing, maintaining, and operating lighting, rigging, sound equipment, scenery, and special effects at major event venues for the city’s WorldPride celebrations.

“With Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) running the show, the two million visitors who will flock to our city for World Pride 2019 will see the very best of what New York has to offer,” said James J. Claffey, Jr., president of the local, in written statement.

Among the events the union said it would be involved with are the rally that was held June 28 outside the Stonewall Inn, the Pride Island Grace Jones and Madonna concerts on June 29 and 30, respectively, at Pier 97 on the Hudson River at West 57th Street, the OneWorld events held June 28-30 at Terminal 5 at West 56th Street and 11th Avenue, and the WorldPride Closing Ceremony in Times Square late in the afternoon on June 30.

Claffey, in his statement, thanked out gay Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman for leading the effort to bring the union together with NYC Pride, the group that produces the annual Pride events in Manhattan and this year took on the much larger responsibility of producing WorldPride in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. NYC Pride and city officials have estimated that WorldPride is drawing several million LGBTQ tourists to New York.

Hoylman, joined by four fellow Manhattan elected officials — out lesbian Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Senator Liz Krueger, Asssemblymember Linda Rosenthal, and Councilmember Keith Powers — wrote to NYC Pride in February urging the group to work with Local One, emphasizing the quality and safety that union labor could deliver for the massive events being planned.

In written comments released with Claffey’s statement, Hoylman emphasized a different point, saying, “Unions have been crucial allies in the fight to protect LGBTQ rights. Now, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the LGBTQ movement is standing with our sisters and brothers in organized labor.”

In the same release, Glick said, “As Local One is headquartered in Hell’s Kitchen and has worked so closely with the greater New York City and Broadway theater community, it is most appropriate to have union labor that produces globally renowned entertainment be instrumental in our city’s worldwide celebration of Pride.”

On Saturday, Hoylman, who this year became chair of the State Senate Judicary Committee, announced he plans to spend Pride Sunday engaged in a bit of public civics education.

“I’ll be handing out 5,000 copies of the US Constitution featuring the Pride Flag this weekend during the Pride March because we’ve seen that Donald Trump is a one-man constitutional crisis,” he said in a written statement. “Now, on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, it’s more important than ever for the LGBTQ community to know our rights. Everyone should keep a copy on their nightstand.”

NYC Pride, in the midst of producing numerous mass events simultaneously this weekend, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its agreement with the labor union.

Updated 10:11 pm, June 29, 2019
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