Broadway strike talks collapse

Talks broke down between striking Broadway stagehands and theatre producers today, with the producers’ league cancelling performances during the lucrative US Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Talks broke down between striking Broadway stagehands and theatre producers today, with the producers’ league cancelling performances during the lucrative US Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

“We are profoundly disappointed to have to tell you that talks broke off, and that no further negotiations are scheduled,” Charlotte St Martin, the executive director of the League of American Theatres and Producers, said.

“Out of respect for our public and our loyal theatregoers, many of whom are travelling from around the world, we regret that we must cancel performances through Sunday, November 25,” she added.

Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for Local 1, the stagehands’ union, said that before the talks broke off, the producers informed the union that what the local had offered was “simply not enough”.

The union would not comment further.

Pressure has mounted for a solution to the work stoppage, which began on November 10, because today starts the Thanksgiving holiday week, one of Broadway’s best of the year.

The stagehands – who include scenery and prop handlers, carpenters, electricians, and lighting and sound technicians – have been working without a contract since the end of July.

Negotiations have focused on work rules – how many stagehands are required to open a Broadway show and keep it running.

Shows hit by the strike include some of Broadway’s biggest hits such as 'Wicked', 'Jersey Boys', 'The Phantom of the Opera', 'The Lion King' and 'Mamma Mia!'.

“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,” St Martin said.

“The union rejected our effort to compromise and continues to require us to hire more people than we need.”

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