Stagehands, Dropkick Murphys reach deal for weekend shows

Posted: March 08, 2013

The Philadelphia stagehands union has targeted the Electric Factory with pickets for a week to get better pay and benefits for workers at the popular venue, union officials said.

However, union members will be working - sort of - at two sold-out shows Friday and Saturday nights by the Dropkick Murphys as part of a deal reached with the Boston band.

It's all about pro-union solidarity, Michael Barnes, business manager of Local 8 of the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees, said Thursday.

The band will pay two union members to unload its equipment outside the Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St., Barnes said. Stagehands working for Electric Factory will handle the equipment inside the building.

The union members are donating their pay of $300 each to the band's charity, the Claddagh Fund, and the union is matching the donation, Barnes said.

In turn, the Claddagh Fund is donating $5,000 to the Philadelphia Veterans Multiservice and Education Center, said Frank Keel, the union's spokesman.

The Dropkick Murphys, widely regarded as a solidly pro-union band, are best known for the song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," which was featured in the Martin Scorsese movie The Departed.

Barnes said he was contacted by the band's bass guitarist, Ken Casey, who did not want to cross the union's picket line, and an arrangement was struck.

A representative for the Electric Factory could not be reached for comment.

Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

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