Next meetings set for Oct. 9
Broadway producers and the Rialto stagehands union have agreed to continue labor talks, with the next meeting set for Oct. 9.The last session ended late in the evening Friday, Oct. 5. Union Local One and the League of American Theaters and Producers have been locked in contract renegotiations for the past several weeks under the shadow of a potential work stoppage, most likely in the form of a lockout of the union initiated by producers. After both sides agreed to continue meeting beyond a Sept. 30 deadline set by the producers, talks have tended to be scheduled at the last minute. Two meetings were called after a day at the table Oct. 1 and then, after an occasionally tense round of negotiations Oct. 4, another session was planned for Friday afternoon. Producers hope to modify work rules they see as outdated and overly expensive, while stagehands contend those requirements protect their livelihoods. Each newly scheduled round of talks helps Broadway breathe a bit easier, because it indicates that enough progress is being made for both sides to agree to return to the table. The last work stoppage on Broadway, a 2003 strike called by the musicians’ union, shut down the majority of Rialto productions for four days at an estimated box office loss of $5 million.