Local 751 of the Treasurers and Ticket Sellers union is angry over the presence of a non-union ticket-selling site in Times Square. The location in question is the newly-opened Broadway Visitors Center, located on Seventh Avenue in the former Embassy Theatre. The Center contains a ticket booth run by the League of American Theatres and Producers which is manned with a non-union staff.
The dispute hinges on the nature of a "remote" ticket sales location, which the League insists the center is. Robert Cleary, president of Local 751, said (Sept. 16) he earlier this year attended a meeting with League officials, theatre owners and various other Broadway bigwigs to talk about the center. "They told us they had planned on [the ticket booth], and it was a non-union operation and they were going forward with the idea that it was a remote location," he said. "We were not happy and we told them we'd put up a fight. "
"We're not a box office," said League spokesperson Kylie Robertson in response. "We're a remote ticket location that's outside union jurisdiction, like many around the city."
The union, however, takes issue with the League's definition of "remote." "If it's Albany or it's over at Bloomingdales or out in Long Island, it's a remote ticket sales location," argued Cleary. "We feel this is in our jurisdiction."
Cleary said efforts to open discussions with the league have not been fruitful, forcing the union to take the matter to arbitration. He added that Local 751 was so eager to install union members at the Broadway Visitors Center's ticket booth, it offered to have those workers earn sub-union pay. The matter will go before the American Arbitration Association (AAA) on Thurs., Sept. 17, said Cleary. Local 751 of the Ticket Sellers and Treasurers union has 700 members, 300 of whom are connected to the sale of theatre tickets.
-- By Robert Simonson