Springsteen Takes Pro-Union Show to Non-Union Venue
Thu, 15 Jun 2006 15:03:07
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Bruce Springsteen has been paying homage to folk icon and union rouser Pete Seeger, first with a new album of Seeger covers, and now with an accompanying tour. But when his schedule was released, a local union of musicians and stagehands in Milwaukee was surprised to find the Bradley Center listed among the venues.
The union planned to distribute pro-union leaflets prior to the concert, although a formal protest wasn't planned. Local union coordinator Paul Friday called the Springsteen booking "bafflingly ironic and somewhat infuriating." The Milwaukee County Labor Council joined in the dissent, releasing a press statement saying, "We find it impossible to believe that brother Springsteen, a member in fine standing of two American Federation of Musicians locals, and his organization are simply out to make some fast cash and not spread Seeger's pro-labor union, pro-peace and pro-environmental messages to the folks attending the show."
A Bradley Center spokesman, meanwhile, said that non-unionization had nothing to do with wicked management practices, but was in the hands of the employees -- and apparently the employees weren't interested in going union.
"It's up to them," said the spokesman, Evan Zeppos. "Hopefully part of it is we respect workers there, treat them properly, give them competitive wages and a strong benefit package."
The show promoters said that the Bradley Center was chosen purely out of logistics, as it was one of the few venues that provided the capacity necessary to offset production costs. Apparently they miscalculated, as the house was reportedly only half-full for the show.
Regardless, the Boss was met with rave reviews. "I've seen Springsteen at least a half dozen times before," wrote Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Dave Tianen, "but I've never seen him as powerful, as luminescent as he was on Wednesday night."
--The ARTISTdirect Staff