State Fair Contract Made Local Union Responsible For Stage Set-Up

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 30 has been noticeably quiet since the collapse of the Indiana State Fair grandstand stage rigging that claimed seven lives, including a member of its own union, Nathan Byrd and injured dozens more. WTHR's Sandra Chapman learns why the union has been so quiet. Although Mid-America Sound owned the stage rigging equipment, the State Fair contract made the local union entirely responsible for the stage rigging set-up and operation:

Local 30's contract with the Indiana State Fair Commission says the union is responsible for the set-up, because it supplied all of the labor.
Mid-America Sound owned the stage, while the commission paid Local 30 to handle "...all phases of stage scaffolding set-ups and tear-downs...and the installation, operation and dismantling of permanent or temporary sound, lighting and audio visual equipment."
"...The Union shall obtain and maintain all required permits, licenses and approvals, as well as comply with all health, safety and environmental statutes, rules or regulations..."
Under the agreement, the commission even promised to pay for one testing session for one employee each year through the Entertainment Technician Certification Program.
The certification program manager says Indiana has seven arena riggers certified through its program to set up temporary stages.
Nathan Byrd was not one of them.
Despite the responsibility of the local union for the stage-rigging equipment under the contract, neither the union nor the State Fair Commission is liable for injury or death to any persons due to the union's negligence:

The State Fair Commission's contract with Local 30 states:
"Neither party will assume liability for any injury (including death) to any persons, or damage to any property arising out of the acts or omissions of the agents, employees or subUnions of the other party."
Local 30's Agent Representative refused to answer any of our questions, and referred us to his attorney Bill Groth, who was not available.
It's unclear at this time if Nathan Byrd was involved in the set-up of the stage. But Byrd's brother told Eyewitness News some co-workers admitted problems with the stage days before the collapse.
A short time after the stage collapse, I was contacted by a relative of one of the local union's workers, who had worked on the stage rigging equipment in past years but not this year. According to this person, his relative refused to work at the State Fair this year because he said the stage-rigging equipment was deficient and dangerous. I asked the person if I could interview him about the concerns he had. He said no because the relative was concerned the union would retaliate against him and he would be denied future work opportunties. City-County Councilor Joanne Sanders (D) serves as an international representative for the union.