Sunday, November 11, 2007


I took some photos of Broadway stagehands who have been on STRIKE since Saturday, November 10, shutting down more than two dozen plays and musicals. The photos above show scenes in front of the St. James Theatre and the Sam S. Shubert Theatre on 44th Street last Sunday, day 2 of the strike. The first show to be affected was "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical," a holiday attraction for families that had an early 11 a.m. matinee. The League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One, the stagehands union have been in negotiations for more than three months, wrangling over work rules and staffing requirements, particularly requirements governing the expensive process of setting up a show. Local One, which has been working without a contract since the end of July, was told Friday by its parent union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, to begin the walkout on Saturday.

The producers’ league and the stagehands’ union do not appear near a settlement.

From the New York Times:

In dueling press conferences this weekend — the union’s, which had a rally atmosphere at St. Malachy’s church on West 49th Street yesterday, and the league’s, a more straightforward affair at league headquarters on West 47th Street on Saturday — each side accused the other of forcing the situation to the strike point.

Members of the League of American Theaters and Producers highlighted examples of what they called “featherbedding,” describing rules that require a certain number of stagehands to be present, even when there isn’t work for all of them.

“We cannot sign another contract that retains these provisions,” Richard Frankel, a producer and general manager, said on Saturday.

Yesterday, James J. Claffey Jr., the president of Local 1, the stagehands’ union, said he would not resume negotiating if league officials continued to treat the stagehands with disrespect — for example, by using what he considers loaded words like “featherbedding.”

“We are not coming to the table,” he said, “with attacks on my local.”

A handful of Broadway shows are not be affected by the strike, as they are playing in theaters with separate Local One contracts. They are "Young Frankenstein," "Mary Poppins," "Xanadu," "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Mauritius," "Pygmalion," "The Ritz" and "Cymbeline." Off-Broadway shows will also keep running.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With record profits don't ya think we can share. Ya teach your kids to share, but greed sets in when we get older. Now innocent people are paying the price. I also heard one man on the street interview where the patron was only worried about his trip being ruined. Do ya think peoples livelihoods are a little more important than whether you get to see a show?