Houston Grand Opera announces contract extension with Local 51 union members

The company and International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees reach agreement through fiscal year 2022

Houston – March 7, 2019—Houston Grand Opera (HGO) is proud to announce an agreement with the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE), Local 51, extending the union’s contract through July 31, 2022. This new multiyear collective bargaining agreement (CBA) covers fiscal years 2019 through fiscal year 2022.

The previous agreement with IATSE 51 was extended after Hurricane Harvey to July 31, 2018. Negotiations have been ongoing since that time. The new terms were incorporated into a draft agreement and accepted by Local 51 union leadership and members on February 26, 2019.

“We are grateful that HGO was able to reach an agreement with IATSE Local 51 that benefits both parties and continues a long and productive partnership. It allows our company to realize productions at the highest possible level in all our future plans,” says HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech. “These behind-the-scenes workers are more often unseen by our audience but are so often required to perform complex physical and technical tasks, and they are absolutely essential to our success artistically and creatively.”

“Last year we suffered a great deal of hardship after Hurricane Harvey and could not have moved forward without the dedication, skills and support from our partners at IATSE,” Leech continues. “We applaud the union leadership and staff who represented the best interests of their members throughout the entire negotiation process.”

IATSE 51, with more than 200 members working in live theater, concerts, and trade shows, is a valued partner of HGO. Members work with many of Houston’s top performing arts organizations, convention center, and performance facilities needing the highest level of skilled labor. The union membership has evolved to embrace the development of new entertainment mediums, craft expansion, technological innovation, and the wide geographic growth of Houston as a city.

“IATSE Local 51 is extremely pleased to build upon the decades long partnership we have cultivated with Houston Grand Opera, by being an integral part of HGO becoming one of the premiere opera companies in the world,” states IATSE President Barry Thomas. “Hurricane Harvey was a very difficult time for all Houstonians and with the Wortham Theater closed for an entire year it put both HGO and IATSE Local 51 in a very precarious position. I feel it was the common sense, straightforward, and compassionate leadership shown by HGO management and IATSE Local 51 leaders and members that helped lead the way for our organizations to not only survive, but to strengthen the bonds between us.

Thomas continues, “This Collective Bargaining Agreement represents the continuation of those bonds, and I would like to thank HGO Leadership for being true partners in this negotiating process, as it takes collaboration from both Management and Labor to produce a truly successful agreement.”

To learn more about Houston Grand Opera, visit HGO.org.