Broadway Producers and Stagehands Union Resume Talks Nov. 7

News   Broadway Producers and Stagehands Union Resume Talks Nov. 7 Talks resumed Nov. 7 between Broadway producers and Local One, the Broadway stagehands union, which has been working without a contract since July 31.

According to a statement issued on the Local One website on Nov. 7, union president James Claffey, Jr. stated that as of 2:40 PM there was no additional progress in the negotiations with Broadway producers and that Local One members must contact the union prior to entering their respective theatres this evening.

Tom Short, the head of Local One's parent union I.A.T.S.E., was on hand for the latest negotiations scheduled to continue through Nov. 9, according to the New York Times. Short's attendance could also pave the way for a stagehand's strike, as the 121-year old union's constitution states that one I.A.T.S.E. official must be present for at least one of the negotiations prior to authorizing a strike for union members.

Those within the industry, especially producers, are hoping to come to an agreeable contract before Broadway reaches the highly lucrative holiday season.

The League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One reached an impasse during negotiations on Oct. 9, as the union rejected what the League stated was its final offer.

On Oct. 22, the day after Local One members unanimously voted to strike if necessary, the League began implementing certain terms of their final offer. The union continues to work under the enforced terms of the League's contract. *

On Oct. 24 president of Local One, James Claffey Jr., issued a statement to members of Broadway's stagehands union commending them for working temporarily under the new rules from the League of American Theatres and Producers. Describing the rules as "a tactic to frustrate, embarrass and provoke [the union] into taking action against [producers] in an effort to gain the public support," Claffey encouraged membership to obey them in order to "convince our co-workers and the public that this Union did all we could for a reasonable period of time before we were pushed and shoved into defending our families and ourselves."

During the negotiations between the League and the union, the Nederlander Organization has been at the table with the Shubert and Jujamcyn camps as a silent observer. The Nederlander Organization has said it will show solidarity with the League of American Theatres and Producers should the union decide to strike for the first time in its 121-year history. Prior to the union's Oct. 21 strike authorization vote, Hershel Waxman, Vice President of Labor Relations of the Nederlander Organization, sent a hand-delivered letter to Local One President James Claffey Jr., a document that was released by the League Oct. 26.

In the letter, which is dated Oct. 19, Waxman says, "Should Local One engage in a strike against the League, it would be in Nederlander's best interest to lock out the Local One bargaining unit so that the entire theatre industry achieves the best possible terms in any new agreement with Local One."

Waxman said that he hoped the strike would not occur, citing the good relations the union and the Nederlander Organization have enjoyed in the past. Waxman concluded his letter stating, "I urge you and your members to accept the League's Final Offer without resorting to an unnecessary work stoppage."