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TC Summer Fest Angers Union Stagehands

Plus PDs getting paid, Walker drops lineup, and RIP Foxy Falafel in today's Flyover news roundup.

4:09 PM CDT on July 12, 2023

Bjorn Watland via Flickr|

The Killers, the Flaming Lips, Deathcab for Cutie, Imagine Dragons, Oliver Tree, and Chelsea Cutler will rock the union-free stage this weekend at Target Field.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Twins to IATSE Local 13: Yer OUT!

Beyoncé's mega-concert next week at Huffington Bank Stadium will employ about 300 union stagehands. Next month, when Pink visits Target Field, dozens more will find gigs. But behind-the-scenes work at TC Summer Fest, the two-day Target Field concert featuring the Killers (Friday) and Imagine Dragons (Saturday), will be union-free. “They don’t want to play ball,” Wendell Bell, a manager with the local chapter the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, says of the Twins and festival organizer 555 Events. Bell tells Union Advocate that the team “stonewalled” IATSE Local 13 until 10 days before the fest, and that 555 instead opted to hire cheaper non-union contract labor. There was no time to organize public protests around the "extreme" situation, he adds. “[555 Events] are notorious throughout the Twin Cities for undermining union labor,” Bell tells UA. “You’re not getting the quality. You’re not getting the safety. The pay is well under union scale. And if somebody gets hurt, where’s the recourse?” Attempts at a compromise deal—some union jobs, some contract ones—were "never even considered," he reports. IATSE Local 13 represents around 3,000 workers at 30+ Twin Cities venues.

Update, July 13—The Minnesota Twins organization reached out to Racket with the following statement: “There are currently 200 hours of union work at this weekend’s TC Summer Fest out for bid, with the intent to have those filled within 24 hours. The Twins organization will continue to work with concert partners to ensure the use of union labor at all future Target Field music events.”

Public Defenders Getting Paid

For years, prosecutors in Minnesota have drawn higher salaries than the public defenders they square off against in court as wages for the latter group have stagnated. That hasn’t necessarily been by design—counties pay prosecutors while the state funds PDs—but that inequality has led, unsurprisingly, to high turnover among defenders. Looks like the playing field is getting leveled: Max Nesterak at Minnesota Reformer reports that state officials and Teamsters Local 320, which represents the public defenders, have tentatively reached an agreement that includes 26% to 72% raises for the state’s 470 PDs. First-year public defenders, who currently earn $70,146, will get bumped to $88,380; senior attorneys, who now receive between $91,917 and $123,093, will get a hefty boost up to $158,500. Thank the state legislature, which increased the budget for the Board of Public Defense by nearly 50% last session, and especially Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-Roseville), a former prosecutor who pushed for the increase.

Walker Art Center Announces 2023-24 Season

The just-announced new season of Walker programming kicks off September 9 with a 12-hour celebration of New York City composer John Zorn on his 70th birthday. For the daylong party, he’ll be collaborating with over 20 musicians, including Bill Frisell, John Medeski, and Sae Hashimoto. Coinciding activities include free concerts in the galleries during the day, three formal concerts in the evening, and a free midnight organ recital across the street at the Basilica of Saint Mary. Elsewhere on the calendar: On November 25, ballet/hip-hop artist Darrius Strong will be curating Choreographers’ Evening, the annual local dance showcase traditionally held Thanksgiving weekend; and, next February, the Out There experimental theater fest is keeping things weird with Honor, a faux medieval art lecture hosted by actress Lili Taylor. You can find the complete schedule, which includes dance, music, and theater from around the world as well as down the street, here.

Farewell Foxy Falafel

All good foxes go to Restaurant Heaven, and, after 13 years, St. Paul's Foxy Falafel is calling it quits. "This was not an easy decision but with the lease coming to an end I decided it was time for me to close," chef/owner Erica Strait explained in a farewell post thanking their loyal customers and staff. "While I say goodbye to this chapter, I eagerly look forward to new beginnings and the possibility of future adventures." The St. Anthony Park fast-casual falafel joint opened in 2012, but its journey starts a few years prior, when FF was "a humble stall at a local farmers market." After transitioning to a food truck, Foxy eventually opened its Raymond Avenue brick and mortar, where it served up super hummus, shawarma, and falafel—though we'll miss you most of all, dill and honey cheese curds. Foxy's last day is scheduled for July 22.

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