A planned Mar. 25 vote of the Broadway musicians union membership to ratify a Mar. 14 contract agreement has been postponed because "we're still jockeying with language," according to spokesperson Judy West.
West, spokesperson for musicians union Local 802, declined to say what the problem issue is, but said she expects it will be settled without resorting to a renewed strike vote. The Mar. 14 tentative settlement came just hours before a planned previous strike vote.
Such a strike could have shut down most Broadway musicals, or forced them to use recorded music.
West told Playbill On-Line (Mar. 14) that the tentative agreement called for a 21 percent wage increase over five years, maintenance of all current benefits, no change in pension or orchestra sizes.
In particular, the union had insisted on systems to protect musicians from stage smoke. West said the League of American Theater Owners and Producers had "very positively addressed" the issue. At Beauty and the Beast, for example, the producers agree to install a device that creates an "air curtain" over the pit so smoke rolling off the stage will not go into the orchestra pit, but instead will be vented away, West said.-- By Robert Viagas