“You really have to know what you’re doing, because people can die.” IATSE 22 president Chuck Clay is talking about riggers, who often go as far up as 14 stories up to attach lights, banners and trusses for events in the metro Washington area. “Anything suspended in the air,” Clay says. His union – which represents area stagehands -- recently won a case at the NLRB to create a separate unit of riggers at PSAV, the largest AV company in the country. PSAV had argued that the riggers were the same as regular AV personnel, but the union successfully argued that their specialized skills set them apart. “Riggers have special training, they have to know math and geometry, tensile strength, so they can safely hang as much as several tons of equipment,” Clay said. That’s also why Local 22 is pushing for DC legislation that would require certification. “Ninety nine percent of the unit signed union cards,” Clay added. The union election is going forward and ballots will be counted March 14. IATSE 22 will receive an Organizing Award at this year’s Evening with Labor this Saturday.
photo courtesy IATSE 22