'Spectacular' end to RCE labor flap

The orchestra for the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” went back to work Friday after musicians’ union Local 802 and Radio City Entertainment reached an agreement in the labor dispute that has kept the musicians out of the “Spectacular” since it opened Nov. 3.

No one involved would discuss the terms of the new bargain. “We have reached a deal on a long-term contract that will guarantee live music at Radio City Music Hall for years to come,” David Lennon, 802 prexy, said in a statement.

“We are very pleased to reach an agreement with the musicians’ union,” Radio City, which is owned by Cablevision, echoed in its statement.

Earlier in the week Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the city of New York stepped in to facilitate, scheduling negotiations at Gracie Mansion. Mediator was Dr. Frank Macchiarola, prexy of St. Francis College in Brooklyn and also a mediator in the 802 labor dispute that shut down Broadway in 2003.

The contentious bargaining atmosphere had its roots in proposals affecting the overtime payment arrangement for the orchestra’s 35 musicians, who play about 225 shows during the 10-week “Spectacular” run. The last two weeks have seen accusations of lying and a public plea from Local One, the stagehands’ union, to settle.

Musicians walked out on dress rehearsals Nov. 2, but the show has gone on with the Rockettes high-kicking to taped music.

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