Stagehands, producers agree to end walkout
The two sides of the labor dispute that has darkened the Rialto for nearly three weeks announced late Wednesday that a tentative deal had been struck. All shuttered shows are on track to resume performances this evening.
Reps for stagehands’ union Local One, which has been on strike since Nov. 10, and the League of American Theaters & Producers hammered out final details of the agreement over three marathon negotiation sessions, beginning with a 20-hour meeting that began Sunday morning.
The most recent round began at 10 a.m. Wednesday, with news of the deal spreading through Gotham legit circles after 10:30 p.m. EST.
The last wrinkles addressed by the talks were said to be compensation increases, with compromises already reached regarding the work rules and hiring requirements for the load-in and running of Broadway shows, which had long been the main stumbling block to an agreement.
“The agreement is a good compromise that serves our industry,” said League prexy Charlotte St. Martin.
“Brothers and sisters of Local One, you’ve represented yourselves and your families and your union proud,” said union prexy James J. Claffey to a crowd of stagehands gathered outside the midtown law offices where the final negotiations took place. “That’s enough said right there.”
The tentative deal still requires the approval of union membership, which will vote on the new contract at a ratification meeting within 10 days.
Resolution of the strike sets legiters scrambling to make up for lost time and revenue. As skeds are juggled for shows whose opening nights were cancelled due to the strike — including “The Farnsworth Invention,” “The Seafarer,” “August: Osage County” — other productions will likely offer discounted tickets to get theatergoers in the door.
The long-running revival “Chicago” already has announced it’s selling all tickets to tonight’s evening show for $26.50.
The standoff between Local One and the League has devastated box office during a normally robust season. Thanksgiving weekend, this year darkened by the strike, is normally one of Broadway’s most lucrative frames.
The shutdown also has had a ripple effect on the Gotham economy overall and particularly on midtown businesses — such as restaurants, parking garages and hotels — reliant on theatergoer traffic.
The New York City comptroller’s office has estimated total losses to the economy at $2 million per day, which adds up to $38 million for the 19-day duration of the work stoppage.