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SCHOOL DELAYS

Union stagehands to picket Pearl Jam's Sports Arena concerts

Union stagehands will be picketing Pearl Jam’s concerts this weekend at the Los Angeles Sports Arena over the facility's use of nonunion stage crews for those shows.

A statement from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) claims that officials at USC, which the Coliseum Commission recently awarded a contract to operate the Sports Arena and the adjacent L.A. Memorial Coliseum, is hiring nonunion workers, including some from out of state, to staff the Pearl Jam concerts on Saturday and Sunday.

“Unfortunately, the crew members that should be inside making sure this concert is safe are going to be out front on the picket line,” IATSE Local 33 Business Manager Mark Madrigal said in the statement. “We’re not asking for additional wages or benefits. All we are asking is that USC honor the contract that has been in place for decades. Instead USC is ignoring our members and its obligation to its neighbors and to our communities and hire cheaper workers to make more money.”

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Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz added, “These facilities are owned by the public, and we have a right to expect that our taxpayer dollars will go to support the Los Angeles economy and good jobs, not line the pockets of USC at the expense of our citizens. USC should stand up and be good corporate citizens in this matter and continue the policy that has worked for decades for all parties.”

A spokeswoman for the band did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Times.

IATSE members will picket before each night’s show, from about 6 until 7:30 p.m. when the concerts are scheduled to start.

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Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 

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