"Stagehand Scalping" at Carnegie Hall; Where's the Outrage About $450,000 Salaries for Stagehands?
About a year ago, I had a post about "excessive pay" for the unionized stagehands at Carnegie Hall, some of whom made more during the 2007-2008 season by pushing the 9-foot Steinway Model D concert grand piano out onto the stage for a concert than the artist makes for playing the piano. Financial data for many nonprofit organizations, including salary data for the "highest paid employees and their compensation," are available at the website GuideStar. Here's the link to The Carnegie Hall Corporation listing at GuideStar.
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, the top five highest paid Carnegie employees were all stagehands making an average of $359,000 in base compensation (see chart above). A more detailed analysis of Carnegie Hall's 2008 tax return reveals that each of the five stagehands earned an additional $100,000 in deferred compensation for 2008, bringing their total yearly compensation amounts to:
Dennis O'Connell (properties manager): $524,332
James Csollany (carpenter): $461,174
John Cardinale (electrician): $438,828
Kenneth Beltrone (carpenter): $432,655
John Goodson (electrician): $425,105
That's a total annual compensation for the five Carnegie stagehands of $2,280,000, or $456,000 each. How to explain these excessive above-market wages? Easy, the stagehands are members of one of the oldest and most powerful NYC labor unions - The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees - which exercised its union muscle in 2007 by striking and shutting down 26 Broadway shows for almost three weeks, at an estimated cost to NYC of about $40 million.
There's a lot of outrage and attention directed towards "excessive CEO pay," judging by the 153,000 Google hits for that phrase, which is 270 times more than the 567 Google hits for the phrase "excessive union pay." As I mentioned in the previous post, musicians and promoters frequently blame "ticket scalpers" for raising ticket prices, but maybe "stagehand scalping" deserves some of the blame for high concert ticket prices?!