The SFJAZZ Center opened to the public on Monday, January 21, but it's admittedly still working out the kinks — namely, negotiations with the professional stagehands' union, and the delayed opening of its rehearsal room.
The union dispute started after SFJAZZ's management requested an eighteen-month period to determine the number of stage technicians needed at the new facility. To show his solidarity with the union, San Francisco District 11 Supervisor John Avalos did not attend Monday's ribbon-cutting, as reported by The San Francisco Chronicle.
SFJAZZ representative Marshall Lamm said "a deal was struck last night," and the union reported on its website that the parties "have reached a 30 day interim agreement." Lamm would not comment on how many stage technicians will potentially be employed at SFJAZZ's 35,000-square-foot performance space, which sits alongside the War Memorial Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall. The Local 16 union has worked with SFJAZZ for thirty years.
Meanwhile, local jazz organist Wil Blades posted on Facebook that his SFJAZZ residency this week had been canceled, "due to the [rehearsal] space not being finished. Really bummed." Lamm said construction on the space, officially called the Joe Henderson Lab, will be completed within a week, and all scheduled concerts will resume, including Blades'. SFJAZZ Director Randall Kline told the Express that the eighty-seat practice and performance space will host emerging jazz artists.
Tune in to NPR tonight to hear a live broadcast of the SFJAZZ Opening Night Concert that includes Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano, and Pete Escovedo.