Broadway reopens for business

November 29th, 2007 - 5:27 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 29 (ANI): Broadway has reopened for business after stagehands and theatre producers reached a tentative agreement, ending a crippling strike that halted more than two dozen shows for 19 days.

The settlement came on the night of Nov 28, the third day of lengthy sessions between Local 1 and the League of American Theatres and Producers to end the lengthy work stoppage, which has cost producers and the city millions of dollars.

The new contract provides an unspecified raise in wages and gives the League of American Theaters and Producers a cutback in the number of stagehands required for load-ins, the period in which a show is first installed and mounted.

“This is a good compromise that serves our industry. What’s most important is that Broadway’s lights will be shining brightly, the Hollywood reporter quoted Charlotte St. Martin, the league’s executive director, as saying.

St. Martin added that most plays and musicals that were shut during the walkout, which began Nov. 10, were expected to be up and running on Nov 29.

Details of the agreement had not yet been made public, but spokesmen for both the producers and the union had already said that compromises were being approached on both the work rules and the size of the wage increases.

Chiefly an argument over work rules, the strike was a bitter disagreement between producers and theatre owners on the one hand and the powerful Broadway stagehands on the other.

The producers had sought reductions in labour costs and a moderation of the long-standing rules regarding minimum numbers of stagehands required both to load in and run shows.

Under their assertive leader James Claffey Jr., the Broadway stagehands had insisted that any reductions in the numbers of workers hired or hours paid be matched by equivalent rises in salary.

An earlier round of negotiations over the weekend of November 17 broke down when stagehands rejected compromise proposals put forward by producers.

The two sides met again on Sunday, with talks running through the night into Monday and again on Tuesday.

It was the third stoppage on Broadway in 30 years. The last, a strike by musicians in 2003, lasted four days at an estimated cost to theatre producers and other businesses of several million dollars. (ANI)

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