# It pays to be a stagehand...

#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
In light of the recent Local One strike, (I know, not the same contract), and having just found this on my computer from 2000, I thought it worth opening a discussion.

Are Stagehands over-paid, under-paid; both, or neither?

#### SweetBennyFenton

Hell, $300,000 a year in NYC will get you a small apartment with a view of a brick wall. In all honesty I find it hard to think these people are getting payed too much, not after I saw them in action with my own eyes. I only worked a couple of union calls when I lived in NYC but I saw a group of workers working harder, faster, and safer than any crew I've ever seen in my life. They were true profesionals. This experience is just what I saw. Any NYC stagehands in the house? Maybe the issue is just that we should ALL be getting payed that much. #### porkchop ##### Well-Known Member This is a topic that came up a lot in our last show (if you remember back to the punching bag post it was not the smoothest run crew wise ever). There are a lot of jobs that don't pay much, if you don't believe me please tell me where you're working and where I can apply, but a lot of those jobs don't actually require a lot of actual work. Case that I'm using to illustrate this point. My job during the last run was two fold and this is the case for anyone that does run crew and works for any other department. I get paid less for run crew even though thats where the majority of my hours were. I couldn't complain about this because during this run there where time that I could either sleep, read, or go to the green room and play cards. This was the case in tech and the actual performances. I wasn't getting paid a whole lot but there just wasn't that much for me to do. Basically your can't complain about not getting paid much when you don't do much, even if it's a big time comitment. On the other hand when I work for Alex, I get paid more and certainly feel I deserve that because unlike the show I'm doing work the whole time. If your doing something and have a skill that is needed you should be paid for it. In reference to the posted article the "stagehands" that are being mentioned are heads of departments, and I wouldn't want the stress of their jobs. For this last show, I as a "part-time overhire" employee have almost 1/3 of my hours in over time and I'm not actually sure that Alex ever actually slept. And we needed every one of those hours to make this show happen. If I had to do this for any extended period of time you would really have to be good to me to keep me. And since you can't slow the earth's rotation to give me some time to sleep, money is the best way to do that. Sometimes this job requires you to work a ridiculous schedule, if thats the case for a long time you should be making a very healthy pay check. EDIT: that means I'm voting for in general across the board that pay rates seem to be reflective of actual work done Last edited: #### Capi ##### Member I would agree with Porkchop. You should get paid in relation to the amount you do. And I think I've found a new goal in life after I graduate. Move to NYC, work my butt off for a long time, become a dept head, and finally make some good cash. #### SteveB ##### Well-Known Member I would agree with Porkchop. You should get paid in relation to the amount you do. And I think I've found a new goal in life after I graduate. Move to NYC, work my butt off for a long time, become a dept head, and finally make some good cash. Yeah, but then what ?. You still are not in it for the money, which isn't that great. One of the hightest paid stagehand positions in the US is a dept. head on Broadway, NYC. The base rate is (Or was - don't know 'bout the new contract, but it ain't a whole lot more)$1,650 per week. IF you work 52 weeks that's $85,800. About$42 hr. Seems like a lot, except.....

You cannot be the sole breadwinner in a household within commuting distance of Broadway on that salary.

#### Spikesgirl

##### Active Member
I'll disagree with that, and here's how: I do a grand total of about 90 minutes of work a night, get paid for a full eight hours. Why? Because for 20 minutes during that time all I must do is keep one human being alive 100 feet in the air on my automation rig.
And that's **** hard to quantify.
I'm grossing $50k/yr. Come see my palatial 800 sq.ft. rental house in fabulous SoCal. I live like a king! I feel that you should get paid appropriately for the work that is being done. Responsibility is definitely a viable commodity. That's what I was pulling in when I was running the scen shop and all I had to do was keep the kiddos from chopping off their fingers, electrocuting themselves, screwing various parts of the their anatomy to the set, etc. i was one of the highest paid staff member on the campus because of it. Not because of the difficulty of the job, but because in 13 years, no one ever got seriously injured in my shop (excluding me of course). It would cost your company a lot more if you dropped someone. BTW, try Northern California - it's a lot cheaper up here. You could upgrade to at least 1,000 square feet! Charlie #### soundop ##### Active Member "Their incomes set a new standard for blue-collar workers." I find the above stated offensive to theater techs everywhere... #### Footer ##### Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member "Their incomes set a new standard for blue-collar workers." I find the above stated offensive to theater techs everywhere... It's not white color office work, its blue collar work. No, its not working at a steel mill, but its physical work no matter what. You don't see people wearing suits the entire day at a gig. #### punktech ##### Active Member nothing wrong with being blue-collar. it's not like they're saying any monkey with a c-wrench can do it. everyone gets that most blue collar jobs on the higher end of th pay scale require training. i can see where nearly$400,000 would be considered by many to be a bit up there. even given the housing prices in NYC. in our modern world i highly doubt that there is only one breadwinner in a household (personally, i know i'm gonna need to find someone that can support my ass for a few years when the student loans are really hurting).

the problem i'd say is not in the salaries, it's in our economy where a person actually needs that much money to live a middle class life. housing prices are insane, and gas is d**m sky high (which is truly bad as gas drives the price of everything else up, like food, you need to get it to the store and then you your self need to get it to the fridge, lots of cash!).

we need to fix our economy and then make sure everyone who has a job that requires (for many of us) extensive and costly training has a wage that they can live on and still pay back the numerous loans and mortgages.

#### avkid

##### Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
I'm all for a living wage.
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But first we need universal healthcare.

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
But first we need universal healthcare.
Ya, Tell me about it! I don't want great healthcare, and I'll still pay for suplimental coverage, but at least basic "break your leg", "cut your arm off" healthcare would be just great. There is a really intersting thread over at lightnetwork about this from people around the world. Does AUS have universal healthcare?

#### Logos

##### Well-Known Member
Sort of. We have Medicare but you have to be unemployed to get everything for free and the waiting lists on public hospitals can be frightening for anything that isn't going to kill you tomorrow.
I understand that even unemployed and totally in pain you can wait up to four years for public dentistry.
Your gas by the way is about half as expensive as ours the last time I looked. We are paying about $1.40 AUD per litre which works out as approximately$5.60 to $6.00 per gallon. #### Footer ##### Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member We are paying about$1.40 AUD per litre which works out as approximately $5.60 to$6.00 per gallon.
Well, the dollar being in the toilet doesn't help the conversion. Looking down the street right now, its a 3.29 here. And people ask me why I sold my big dodge truck and bought a tiny toyota corolla. Literally, my gas consumption cut in half (and I don't have to haul crap for anyone anymore!)

#### punktech

##### Active Member
yeah i'm in a bind when it comes to cars. i can't afford much in gas but the cheapest cars i can buy (literally the only ones in my >\$2000 USD price range) are Chevy S10s, which eat gas like there's no tomorrow. so either i can buy a car and never drive it or not buy a car. the second one sadly is not an option, i *NEED* a car where i live.