PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As fans filed into their seats to watch the Trail Blazers take on the Lakers for the first time in over a year, a group of laid-off stage workers protested outside the Moda Center demanding Rip City Management give them their jobs back.
This group of workers includes stagehands who have worked Blazers and Winterhawks games for the last two decades.
“Imagine you are an entertainment industry worker and all of your work was shut down in March 2020 due to a pandemic,” said Rose Etta Venetucci, business representative of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE, Local 28 in an emailed statement “You struggled getting your unemployment and got lost in the backlog … Fast forward to May 7th, 2021. Fans are now allowed back in the arena, but still not bringing back their loyal crew?
The labor union represents employees in Southwest Washington, Portland, and Salem who work in the theater, broadcast, film, and live events production industries. The union has more than 200 members and represents 550 workers.
Without their jobs, many of these stage workers lost their health care coverage in 2020 as well.
RCM has not yet responded to requests for comment.