ShareThis Page
Bon Jovi show is on despite strike threat |

Bon Jovi show is on despite strike threat

Rick Stouffer
| Friday, July 21, 2006 12:00 a.m

Rocker Jon Bon Jovi’s Steelers World Championship Celebration concert on Sunday could be “Livin’ on a Prayer,” if unionized stagehands vote to strike.

Local 3 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has scheduled a strike authorization vote for its roughly 200 members Saturday at the union meeting hall. Picket signs are painted and ready to go.

Despite the threat of pickets Sunday around Heinz Field, the 6 p.m. Bon Jovi show is a go, said Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett.

“Concerning plans in case there is a strike by stagehands, I can tell you that the show will definitely go on,” Lockett said.

Because the stagehand union works so infrequently with the Steelers, it negotiates a contract annually, Local 3 President Robert Olinger said.

“Since Three Rivers Stadium was here, 30-some years, when these big rock shows came to town, we used a freelance agreement for employers we don’t work with regularly,” Olinger said. “Last year, when Kenny Chesney came in, we were told (Pittsburgh Steelers Sports Inc.) would only use us for part of the setup.”

Among the jobs union members handle are setup of steel girders and piping, lighting, sound and assembling concert stages, Olinger said. The work is done under the supervision of companies providing the equipment.

Two weeks ago, negotiators reached a tentative contract that union members defeated “very badly,” Olinger said.

“There only were three ‘yes votes’ for the contract. We are very far apart on wages and (work) conditions.”

Over the years, wages have increased in freelance agreements, similar to wage increases in contracts with groups such as the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for Benedum Center and the Bynum Theater.

Contract conditions, including overtime provisions, have changed little, he said.

“Two changes the Steelers want are regular time for the first eight hours on Sunday, and a 25 percent pay cut for stagehands that don’t have 1,500 hours of experience,” Olinger said.

Lockett said the Steelers’ organization has handled concerts before and will continue to do so if the event fits its criteria.

The Steelers helped to promote last year’s Kenny Chesney concert — and the ‘N Sync concert five years ago that opened Heinz Field, although the team was not the exclusive promoter.

The Steelers are among 11 National Football League teams that formed the Gridiron Stadium Network to lobby the entertainment industry for non-football events at their facilities. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league does not participate in the Gridiron Stadium Network.

“However, we started about three years ago that the team that wins the Super Bowl opens the following season, and that game will include music and entertainment, national talent that is a league initiative,” McCarthy said.

The league also handles Super Bowl entertainment.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.