Talks Between League and Union Break Down; Performances in Darkened Theatres Canceled Through Thanksgiving

News   Talks Between League and Union Break Down; Performances in Darkened Theatres Canceled Through Thanksgiving
Talks between the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One, the stagehands union, broke off the evening of Nov. 18.

Performances in the 27 theatres darkened by the stagehands strike have been canceled through Sunday, Nov. 25, according to a statement released by the League at 10:34 PM Nov. 18.

The statement from Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the League, reads: "We are profoundly disappointed to have to tell you that talks broke off tonight, and that no further negotiations are scheduled.

"We presented a comprehensive proposal that responded to the union's concerns about loss of jobs and earnings and attempted to address our need for some flexibilities in running our business. The union rejected our effort to compromise and continues to require us to hire more people than we need.

"Out of respect for our public and our loyal theatergoers, many of whom are traveling from around the world, we regret that we must cancel performances through Sunday November 25."

The union sent out its own press statement at 11 PM. The statement from spokesperson Bruce Cohen reads, "Talks between Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the League of American Theatres and Producers broke off late this [evening]. Just before the talks broke off, the producers informed Local One that what Local One had offered was simply not enough. The producers then walked out. Local One will have no further comment." Many had hoped that the weekend of negotiations — the first time the union and the League had sat down together since Nov. 9 — would lead to a quick resolution. Those in the industry believed that the talks, which began Saturday morning, Nov. 17, would be aided by the participation of Robert W. Johnson, a Disney labor relations executive who flew in to mediate. Thomas C. Short, the president of I.A.T.S.E. who had granted strike authorization to the Broadway stagehands union on Nov. 9, was also part of the weekend meetings.

A quick resolution, however, was not in the cards. After two days' worth of negotiations at the Westin Hotel on West 43rd Street, there is no indication when talks might resume.

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