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The Shaw Festival and IATSE, Local 461 Facilities Bargaining Unit

Media Release #5

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, March 10, 2010 … The Shaw Festival announced today that it is implementing a lockout of the employees represented by IATSE, Local 461 in the Shaw’s Facilities Department. These are the 16 employees that provide maintenance, grounds crew and housekeeping services. The lockout is effective at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 and is limited to the Facilities Department. The employees of the Production and Audience Sales and Services departments, whose contracts expired November 30, 2008, are not included in this lockout.

The Shaw Festival applied for conciliation with the Ontario Labour Relations Board and a mediator was appointed. With the assistance of the mediator, the two parties were able to resolve outstanding issues around wages and benefits; however the union’s outstanding issue concerning “contracting out” of work in the Facilities Department remains unresolved.  The Shaw had already committed that there would be no contracting out of any work during the life of the collective agreement and provided additional protection for employees who were impacted by any layoffs in the future.  This was not acceptable to the members of the bargaining unit and IATSE, Local 461. 

The Shaw Festival has advised IATSE, Local 461 that it is prepared to return to the bargaining table immediately to negotiate the Production and Audience Services collective agreements.  The Shaw Festival has not taken any action to lock out employees in those departments. IATSE, Local 461 continues to maintain its position that it will not negotiate the Production and Audience Sales and Services contracts until the parties have reached agreement on the Facilities Department contract.

Executive Director Colleen Blake noted: “We wish this issue could be resolved at the bargaining table. To date, we have not been able to do that. Reluctantly, we have made this difficult decision.”

Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell went on to say:”To be at this juncture is shocking and heartbreaking but we have no choice. We are an extraordinary theatre company because of the shared belief in the work we do and the immense spirit of collaboration with which we do it. We must hold on to this and look forward to when we come together once more, galvanized and focused on the great theatre that means so much to us all.”


In the spirit of George Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, or to download images from our image bank to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck
Public Relations Director
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
(905) 468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224

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