That a major New York theater owner and producer came to a contractual agreement with a powerful union is not only pleasant news, it's relatively unusual. Generally, the League of American Theatres and Producers bargains as one unit with IATSE union members. But individual members of the League also have the right to negotiate on their own, which is, according to a report in Variety, exactly what the Nederlander Organization has done. Variety reports that the Nederlanders and Local One, the stagehands union, have hammered out a four-year contract that's expected to be ratified in September. The Theatre League as a whole was not involved in the process, though president Jed Bernstein told Variety, "Any member has the ability to engage in one labor negotiation separate from the collective group and still maintain full labor membership." Bernstein, who said the rules for negotiations changed only a couple of years ago, noted that the Nederlanders are still in league with the League on other collective bargaining issues with the unions.
-- By David Lefkowitz