Saturday, November 24, 2007

And at the Other Strike on the East Coast ...

Broadway is still shuttered, so the big box office for the four-day weekend has been blown to small bits. And how's it going now? Welll ....

Striking stagehands and theater producers agreed Saturday to return to the bargaining table, nearly a week after negotiations collapsed and kept most of Broadway dark during the lucrative Thanksgiving week - the second full week of no performances ...

"We are glad they accepted our invitation to negotiate," said Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

More than two dozen plays and musicals have been closed since Nov. 10, when the stagehands walked off the job.

A settlement was believed to have been in the works last Sunday after a marathon weekend of negotiating, but the talks ended abruptly with producers walking out. No negotiations were held during Thanksgiving week, traditionally one of the best weeks for Broadway business.

Our information was Local One and the Producers/Theater owners were close to a deal before the strike happened when the theater owners balked at the final agreement ... And then were surprised when IA President Tom Short gave strike authorization to the stage hands right before the holidays. (Hey, if you're going to strike, do it when your leverage is at its maximum.)

Unlike most IA unions and guilds, Local One is the bargaining agent for its contract, not the IATSE. Word has come back to us that there's thorny issues that haven't been easy to wade through, but if a deal is going to be struck, it would be a fine idea to achieve it before the Christmas break has come and gone.


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