Broadway Strike - Day Fifteen The strike enters its third week with The League seemingly talking to everyone but the union!

Local One Pickets

Update: (24 Nov, 19:45pm)
The League agrees, almost at the final hour, to accept Local One's president James J. Claffey formal request, made on 20 Nov 2007. In a statement just released reads, "Negotiations between the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One are scheduled to resume tomorrow Sunday, November 25, 2007."

As the strike by Local One, Broadway's unionised stage hands, enters its fifteenth day, The League of American Theatres and Producers has won few friends on Broadway this week.

After The League walked out, in frustration, of the last round of negotiations held on the 18th of Nov 2007, they issued an official statement announcing that all shows at the darkened theatres had been cancelled through to 25 Nov 2007. On the 20 Nov 2007, Local One's president James J. Claffey made a formal request to the League for further talks on Sun 25 Nov 2007.

The League has not responded to the invitation, saying earlier in the week, that the matter was under discussion and had still to be decided upon. We now hear that they will not meet with the union, the New York Post reports that they are angry with the Union for not arranging to meet earlier. But this leaves the question: "why did the League not respond to the invitation, by asking for earlier talks?" and since the League cancelled all shows through to 25 Nov 2007, a move which surprised many: "Why would they expect the union to ask for talks earlier then the 25 Nov 2007".

Another move by the League which will annoy Local One is a link on The League's official website, recommending people to read Andrea Peyser's New York Post column "Vanishing Act by the Union Boss."

The article accusers Local One of turning Broadway into a "Soviet gulag" because the union has asked its members not to talk with the press. One union member (who wishes to be unnamed) responded, "Andrea Peyser should phone up people employed by the League, and not League officials, and ask them to comment on the strike! Would their refusal to speak to the press because the League has instructed them not to warrant accusing the League of turning Broadway into a 'Soviet gulag'".

The article, which the League links to, ends "It is hard to cry for these well-paid workers - men and a few women who treat the public like dirt." Does the League truly hope to win friends by linking to an article which refers to Broadway's stagehands as "men and a few women who treat the public like dirt."?

The League has also posted on their website an open letter addressed to Actors and Stage Managers. The letter refers to the negotiations that will take place in July 2008 between Equity (Actors' union) and The League. The letter has already annoyed Equity and many actors because it implies that the actors cannot trust their union leaders. The part that many actors find particularly offensive reads "Next summer, we hope your Equity representatives will be willing to listen to what we say, and report it to you as we present it to them."

The re-opening of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was a cause for celebration, and the children attending the 11am matinee of the musical where greeted by Patrick Page dressed at the Grinch, welcoming them into the foyer of St James Theatre.

However, the news that the League is seeking to appeal the court ruling that forced Jujamcyn Theatres, owners of the St James Theatre, to end its lockout of the shows stage hands is making more than just the show's producers angry. The actors and musicians union are also angry; one actor told New York Post "People are furious about that. It just shows us how tough they're willing to be."

The other piece of news that has angered actors has been the discovery that the Producers have put pressure on St. Malachy's Church (The Actors' Church) not to host any further union meetings, thus forcing the actors who were to convene there this week to seek alternative premises. Actors are furious that the Producers have prevented them from meeting in the Actors' Church.

When this strike began on 10 Nov 2007, some predicted it would last weeks, and not days. It seems with the events of the last week, it could be months and not weeks. If that happens no one wins; not the Stagehands, not the League, and certainly not the public!

It may be the holiday season but there is little to be cheerful about on Broadway. Even the good news of "The Grinch" re-opening, may be short lived, if the League succeeds in its court appearance on Tuesday, and the show is once again forced to close.

Broadway Strike! - Day one
Broadway Strike! - Day two
Broadway Strike! - Day three
Broadway Strike! - Day four
Broadway Strike! - Day five
Broadway Strike! - Day six
Broadway Strike! - Day seven
Broadway Strike! - Day eight
Broadway Strike! - Day nine
Broadway Strike! - Day tenth
Broadway Strike! - Day eleven
Broadway Strike! - Day twelve
Broadway Strike! - Day thirteen
Broadway Strike! - Day fourteen

Click here to find out which Broadway shows are playing, and which ones are not.

Originally published on

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