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Calif. Unions Cash In With Kirstie Alley, DWTS
HOLLYWOOD (CAP) - Organized labor received a much-needed shot in the arm this week when ABC announced that Kirstie Alley would be joining the cast of the hit show Dancing With The Stars.
"This is big - really big," said Southern California Steelworkers Union Local 3371 Trustee Russ Caledonia. "Kirstie Alley is going to put over three dozen tradesmen to work and keep them working for as long as she's on the show.
"This couldn't come at a better time," added Caledonia.
With the turmoil taking place in Wisconsin between Gov. Scott Walker and labor unions, many say union labor and collective bargaining rights in general have "taken a real beating" in the press lately. Pundits say the addition of Alley to DWTS and the subsequent need for tradesmen will help put organized labor "back on the map."
"How can we put this delicately?" said ABC President Paul Lee. "While we are very excited to have Kirstie on DWTS, her presence will require certain, umm ... adjustments."
Lee said the show is in the midst of hiring extra carpenters, steelworkers, and other tradesmen to make sure the stage floor is reinforced, the chairs in the dressing rooms are reinforced, "basically to make sure a lot of stuff is reinforced."
"And to make sure stuff gets fixed when it is broken," added Lee. "Because believe me, when you're working with Kirstie Alley, stuff will get broken."
Los Angeles County Carpenter's Union Local 4565 confirmed that they are starting to build some special struts for the stage to try to help support the additional weight during Alley's routines. President Manny Fernandez said the original stage wasn't built to withstand the punishment and strain that someone of Alley's stature will bring, either standing still or moving.
"Once she starts flipping and flopping and bee-bopping around, it's going to take a whole bunch of us using all of our craftsman skills to figure out how to keep things safe," said master carpenter Lou Pearson. "Well, between our union-negotiated hourly 25-minute breaks and three-hour lunches, that is."
The Kirstie Krew, as they've been dubbed, have inspired union laborers around the nation to keep fighting for collective bargaining rights.
"It just goes to show," said Caledonia, "as long as there are fat, lazy tubs of lard around, there will be union labor!"
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