March 11 Press Conference Features Speeches from Mayor and Union and League Reps

News   March 11 Press Conference Features Speeches from Mayor and Union and League Reps At the March 11 press conference to announce that the strike that affected 18 Broadway musicals had been settled, brief comments were made by several of those involved in the through-the-night negotiations.

Mayor Bloomberg, who summoned representatives of the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians to Gracie Mansion March 10, spoke first. Said Bloomberg: “This morning we have great news. Broadway is no longer dark. That’s great for the city. It is great for the people who work in the theatre. It is great for those that work in related industries, and most importantly, it’s great for the eight million people who live in New York and all the tens of millions who come to visit us every year, who love Broadway and want to be able to go and let their minds just be free and be entertained with what’s the greatest thing about New York, arguably.

“New York is a city where everybody can participate,” Bloomberg continued, “and I think you’re seeing that today. There were two sides to a dispute, and in the end both of those sides understood that we have to live together and work together and that no dispute operates in a vacuum. There are third parties that have to be considered as well. And, on behalf of the eight million people of New York City, I just wanted to thank both groups in this case for understanding that. When you go into a negotiation, you never get 100 percent of what you wanted, and, in fact, both groups aren’t totally free to negotiate just the best deal. They live in the grander context of the people we serve, the people that are our future. We have to make sure that young children can come to Broadway. They will be the ticket buyers of the future, and we have to make sure that people that work on Broadway have careers that they can depend on.

"I think we have come to a resolution that will accommodate all of that. I wanted to particularly thank three people: Bill Moriarty, who is president of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians; Jed Bernstein, who is the president of the League of American Theatres and Producers; and Frank Macchiarola, who is the president of St. Francis College, a former Chancellor of the New York City public school system, a great American and a great New Yorker who continuously does things for the city. And, Frank, thank you.”

Bloomberg then introduced Moriarty, Bernstein and Macchiarola, who offered short statements. Moriarty commented, “Thank you, Mayor. I’d like to thank the Mayor very deeply for his participation in this and for the use of the hall, and I’d like to thank Frank Macchiarola, without his assistance in this, it couldn’t have been done. I mean that very sincerely. He did a marvelous job of mediating an extremely difficult dispute. I’d also like to thank all of the theatrical employees who supported us in this effort. We went out together, and we’re going back together. We’ll be there tonight. Technology doesn’t always win, and it didn’t win this time, and while we have made some reductions in the house minimums, we have preserved live Broadway, and we continue to have the largest staff minimums in the world, and we will continue to provide the best music that you will ever hear in your life.”

The League’s Jed Bernstein also thanked the mayor, adding “I want to join Bill in extending my thanks to the Mayor and the staff here at Gracie Mansion, and particularly Deputy Mayor Patty Harris, who, as always, is our most wonderful connection to the administration. I want to thank Bill and his colleagues and his team. This was an extremely difficult negotiation lasting over many, many meetings since the end of January. Neither side got everything it wanted. Neither side was able to get through this without making significant compromises. And, ultimately, as the Mayor said, that’s what a fair and good negotiation is all about. Frank, who came into our lives about 16 hours ago, was not only a quick study but also a good-humored and stalwart partner in getting to a solution. On behalf of all of Broadway, we are delighted. "We will be back, lit tonight. As some of you know, Tuesday nights for many shows is Tuesdays at 7. So, the 7 o’clock curtains will go up for many of the musicals: Chicago, Urinetown, Les Miz, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Aida, Flower Drum Song, Phantom, Movin’ Out, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and 42nd Street. And eight o’clock curtains for The Producers, Hairspray, La Boheme, Rent, Urban Cowboy, Mamma Mia! And, I forgot, Man of La Mancha is also a seven o’clock curtain. So, it’s regular curtain times tonight. We expect every marquee to be lit. We couldn’t be happier and prouder that our family, our musicians’ family, are back together with us. Thank you very much.”

Frank Macchiarola, who served as the arbitrator of the negotiations, said, “Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I’m not sure how I got involved in this, but I do know that there is a prayer of St. Francis that is entirely appropriate. In that prayer you say, ‘It is in giving that we receive.’ And that’s what happened in these negotiations. Both parties gave. They made considerable concessions or they made giant steps, but they did it in a spirit of getting it done. When I first came to the negotiations, I asked the parties, ‘Do you want to get it done?’ And they all said, ‘Yes.’ From that time on, we worked through getting it done. There was never any rancor, never any problem. It was [just] a problem of working it through, but there was never any bad feeling or never anything that wasn’t in the good spirit of New York. The musicians make music, and they made music and harmony in this setting, and I am very grateful for the cooperation that I received in this effort. Mr. Mayor, it could not have happened if you hadn’t done it . . . He was there when we needed him, and he checked in from time to time, so it was really a wonderful experience. I thank you all. I thank both sides, absolutely wonderful.”