Riviera stagehands protest firing

SHARE Riviera stagehands protest firing
JAMprotest_999x739.jpg

Stagehands and supporters held a protest outside the offices of Jam Productions on Wednesday morning. | Patrick Judge/For the Sun-Times

Stagehands who worked at the Riviera Theatre say they were fired in September for their attempts to unionize.

Fired workers and union organizers — joined by local religious leaders, union officials, and former Gov. Pat Quinn — gathered Wednesday outside the office of Jam Productions, 207 W. Goethe St. Jam is a 40-year-old concert promoter that operates the Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave.

“It’s very important that Jam … come to their senses,” Quinn said. “The right to organize is fundamental in our American democracy.”

Jolly Roger, a veteran production manager who worked with Jam for nearly 40 years, was among the fired crew members present.

“We were in a truck, taking back supplies from an AC/DC show at Wrigley Field. I got a call. They said, ‘We’ve decided to take a new direction.’”

“There are people that have kids, they need health insurance,” Roger said.

A release issued two weeks ago by the Theatrical Stage Employees Union Local 2 described how over 30 employees were suddenly fired in a “profanity-laced tirade” by Jam’s co-owner Jerry Mickelson.

The employees had signed cards to authorize a vote to unionize, in accordance with National Labor Relations Board procedure.

Days after the workers were fired by Jam, the local stagehands union filed charges of unfair labor practice with the labor board, according to attorney David Huffman-Gottschling. Sections 7 and 8 of the National Labor Relations Act protect employees’ right to “form, join, or assist labor organizations.”

Mickelson declined comment while the matter is pending before the board – except to ask that the public “provide us the courtesy to never judge someone by the opinion of another,” and also that the company “works with union and non-union stagehands and respects the rights of every person to be represented in any manner they choose.”

The Latest
Reese’s jersey sold out on the online WNBA store within days of her being drafted by the Sky with the No. 7 overall pick.
Arley Carrillo Mendez, 39, is charged with one felony count of child abduction and luring of a minor after he followed a girl Monday afternoon in the 5000 block of South Long Avenue.
The traditional TV broadcasts will be heavy on the Bears, who own the first and ninth picks of the first round. They’ll be on the clock at 7 p.m.
White Sox hit two homers but Crochet allows five runs in 6-3 loss
Does the USC quarterback have the “it” factor that makes everyone around him better and tilts the field in his favor in crunch time? There’s no doubt Poles sees something special in Williams.