IATSE Visits The Boss

Between 15 and 20 local union members of IATSE handed out pamphlets in front of the Bradley Center when Bruce Springsteen played Milwaukee June 13th.

Springsteen and his large band are touring the songs of Pete Seeger, who is famously pro-union. Paul Friday, who coordinates the Milwaukee chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said the gathering was not a protest.

“We just want people to know Springsteen’s taking the music of a very pro-union campaign into a venue like that,” Friday said.

The group handed out flyers that reportedly said, “Booking this tribute into a historically non-union venue like the Bradley Center is a subtly ironic, baffling and infuriating situation, especially on a night like tonight, when several other union-staffed facilities of similar size are available.”

Springsteen has played the Bradley Center four or five times, Larry Frank of promoter Frank Productions told Pollstar. He said the issue is between the IATSE members and the venue.

If Bradley Center employees are not unionized, that’s their choice, arena spokesman Evan Zeppos told the media.

“It’s not management’s decision – it’s up to them,” Zeppos said. “Hopefully part of it is we respect workers there, treat them properly, give them competitive wages and a strong benefit package.”

Union leaders have tried to organize Bradley Center employees and “we just want to raise awareness,” Friday said.